“Monkey Bar” Playground Injury Case Continues

In DiGiacomo v. Town of Babylon (App. Div. 2nd Dept. Jan. 28, 2015), the Appellate Division, Second Department affirmed the denial of defendant’s motion for summary judgment.

Here are the facts of this personal injury case, the six-year old plaintiff was injured when she fell from a “monkey bar”. According to her testimony:

[P]rior to her accident, she watched two other children stand on their toes and jump off a wooden platform to grab the bar. After observing them, the infant plaintiff also attempted to jump off the wooden platform to grab the bar. However, when she tried to grab the bar, she slipped off, and struck her left arm on the wooden platform.

Here is the law, as summarized by the court:

[S]chools and camps owe a duty to supervise their charges and will only be held liable for foreseeable injuries proximately caused by the absence of adequate supervision. Whether such supervision was adequate and, if inadequate, whether it was a proximate cause of the subject injuries are generally questions for the trier of fact to resolve.

The court then explained why defendant failed to establish its entitlement to summary judgment dismissing plaintiff’s complaint:

Here, the defendant failed to establish, prima facie, that it provided adequate supervision to the infant plaintiff, or that lack of adequate supervision was not a proximate cause of the infant plaintiff’s injuries.

Contrary to the defendant’s contentions, it did not establish that the accident occurred in so short a span of time that even the most intense supervision could not have prevented it. The infant plaintiff testified that she watched other children jumping up to grab the bar before she attempted to do so. The defendant did not submit any evidence demonstrating that there were any counselors spotting the children on the bar or enforcing the rule that the children were not permitted to jump onto the bar at the time of the accident. Thus, the defendant’s own submissions failed to eliminate triable issues of fact as to the adequacy of the supervision, and whether proper supervision of the children at the bar would have prevented the accident.