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Glen Cove settles suit in child's playground injuries

Glen Cove City Hall.

Glen Cove City Hall. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The City of Glen Cove plans to borrow $435,000 to settle a personal injury lawsuit, Mayor Reginald Spinello has announced.

The lawsuit arose from injuries an 11-year-old boy sustained when the swing he was on broke in 2011. The city has agreed to pay the child's mother, Ruth Brown-Richardson, for medical expenses and pain and suffering. The bonding will be done sometime next year, Spinello said.

The child, Marquis Richardson, broke two bones in his ankle, requiring multiple surgeries and physical therapy, his physician said in a letter filed in the lawsuit that was filed in 2012 in state Supreme Court in Mineola. The physician also said the likelihood of his developing arthritis in the ankle was "probable."

The City Council approved paying the settlement at its Dec. 23 meeting.

City Attorney Charles McQuair said at the meeting that the child may need more surgeries.

The settlement exceeds what the city usually sets aside for self-insurance and thus the city would borrow for the amount, Spinello said during the meeting. "Usually our total claims for insurance payments, attorney's fees, and everything else . . . averages about $300,000 and change," Spinello said. "This is a little higher than normal."

The suit alleged that the accident at Connolly Elementary School resulted from negligence in properly maintaining and repairing defective and worn playground equipment.

The accident happened on school district property, but under an agreement with the school district for an after-school program in which the boy was participating, the onus of insurance fell on the city.

Councilman Timothy Tenke said in an interview that the accident prompted the city to change its policy of indemnifying the school district for these kinds of claims.

Tenke said that now if an activity takes place on school property and there's an accident caused by faulty equipment owned by the district, the district would be liable for some or all costs. Spinello said the council would review its self-insurance policy to examine the feasibility of buying insurance.

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