Sliding into Litigation

Devastating death

For most parents, it may be considered one of the greatest hopes or expectations that while under the supervision of educators, their children are safe.  To ensure total general safety, parents may anticipate that their child’s school upholds every reasonable standard.  Following a February 6 injury involving a corkscrew slide at the Rose Springs Elementary School in Idaho, this practical expectation was compromised.  The parents of a now-deceased 8-year-old child have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Idaho school district that may be held liable for the incident.

According to the lawsuit, Timothy and Kathryn Cunningham claim that their son Dallin was playing on the school playground when he took a ride down an extremely steep corkscrew slide.  As Dallin was rounding a turn, he flew over the side and fell 7 feet to the ground.  While a 7-foot drop alone is a cause for risk of injury, the fact that the mulch bed beneath the slide was exceptionally hard due to freezing temperatures escalated the danger to the children playing on the playground.  The ground was so cold that everything below a one-inch layer of mulch was solid and could not realistically soften the blow of a hard fall.  Compared to regulation playground standards, which determines that 12 inches of mulch is safe, the playground at Rose Springs Elementary was arguably neglected.             

In addition to the danger surrounding the slide, Dallin’s parents accuse the school of allowing the children to play on hazardous equipment.  In the lawsuit, they state that the slide was not only steep, but also did not have proper railings to prevent children from falling over the side.  As a result of their son’s fall, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and passed away a day after the incident.  The family is seeking $90,000 in damages to cover medical expenses, as well as any additional damages that may be awarded at trial.