M.P., infant v. Mineola Union Free School District, Supreme Court, Nassau County 2019

Thomas A. Montiglio was successful in obtaining a defense verdict after a jury trial in Supreme Court, Nassau County before Justice Steinman in the case of M.P., infant v. Mineola UFSD .

The case involved a fourth-grade student at Jackson Ave Elementary School who was injured during recess. On the date of the accident the infant plaintiff and seven friends were playing touch football in the field adjacent to the playground equipment.

The infant plaintiff and his friends were advised by the recess aides as to the accepted boundaries to be used for the football field to ensure that the boys did not play too close to the playground equipment. Several times during the school year the boys attempted to extend the boundaries of the football field and were repeatedly warned by the recess aides to keep the football game limited to the accepted boundaries and to be sure to stay back from the playground area. The boys would obey the instructions of the recess aides for a period of time and then attempt to extend the boundaries of the field again.

The infant plaintiff testified that on the day of the accident the boys extended the boundaries of the football field even though they knew they were not supposed to. This extension of the field caused the football game to be played immediately adjacent to the playground area. During the football game, the infant plaintiff went out for a long pass which went beyond the back of the endzone and ran into a piece of playground equipment sustaining significant dental injuries.

The Plaintiff produced for trial testimony the infant plaintiff, his mother and an expert in physical education and recess. The two recess aides that were present on the date of the accident testified as well.

The jury returned a unanimous verdict of no negligence on behalf of the School District.