When in Doubt, Just Sue

Posted
Thu, 04/01/2004 - 1:00am
Last updated
3 months ago
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Even though I wasn’t the safest kid growing up, my parents still loved me. When my friend launched me off his trampoline when I was seven and I broke my arm, they took me to the hospital to get my first cast. However, they did not sue.

When Tony Caliendo, the school bully, knocked me off the swing set at our elementary school and I ended up in the nurse’s office, my folks came and got me. But they didn’t sue.

And luckily when I pushed that same bully down weeks later in retaliation, and he broke his glasses on the bark playground surfacing, his parents didn’t sue me.

But we live in a different time now. We live in the sue or be sued era, and it’s only going to get worse.

Recently I read an article about a mother who is seeking lost wages for her two-year-old son, who is a model and an actor. She’s asking the city to pay for an injury sustained at a public playground. The mother of the boy, who broke his arm when he fell off a slide at his elementary school in July 1999, is taking the city to court. The case is scheduled to go to trial this spring.

His attorney feels the city is at fault because the children in the summer-school program that his client was attending were not properly supervised. Several students went down the slide at once and the weight of another child behind the kid pushed him off. Shouldn’t there be a law to keep fat kids from playing? 

Why stop there? Let’s sue Baskin Robbins for making that kid heavy enough to push him off. And we could sue the school for not teaching this kid faster reflexes or better coordination so he didn’t have to fall. I guess they didn’t teach him that in his acting class, huh?!

C’mon mom, are you kidding me? Pack your son up in pillows and send him out to play. Better yet, manufacture a line of clothing made from bubble wrap. You could make a fortune. Of course when some kid tries to eat that bubble wrap and those parents sue you, then we’ll be back in court.

News Flash, this just in. Kids will get hurt. They aren’t instantly given coordination on their first birthday. Pushing playground equipment to the limit is just one of the things on their daily “to do” list. 

I put my faith in the manufacturers that are building the equipment today and I strongly believe in the associations that regulate these playgrounds. There is only so much that you can do. 

The key is to inspect the equipment often and to replace worn out or defective playgrounds. But this accident where the kid broke his arm has nothing to do with faulty equipment. Of course, his lawyer is trying to find a loophole such as surfacing, but he needs to give it up. The kid fell and broke his arm, end of story. There are other concerns in this industry that need more attention than this lawsuit dreamed up by super mom. Funding for new playgrounds should actually go to the schools and public playgrounds. Not to mothers who are seeking lost wages for toddlers. 

Thinking Today About Tomorrow's Play™ The only magazine that is 100% dedicated to the Playground Industry

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