BRANDON — The parents of a 15-year-old Otter Valley Union High School student are suing the school after pingpong tables fell on the girl and broke her leg.
According to a lawsuit filed in Rutland civil court by Mariah Merkert’s parents, Robert and Luanne Merkert, she was the victim of negligence by the school when their daughter’s gym teacher made her and her classmates take the 70-pound tables out of a storage room on March 21, 2011.
The tables fell on her and another student, the lawsuit said.
Under the weight of the boards, Mariah’s right tibia and fibia were broken, according to the suit. Her medical bills were upwards of $40,000.
The parents are suing for compensatory damages, interest and other relief the court deems necessary.
The school, through its attorney, Pietro Lynn, said: “This was an unfortunate accident, but the school is not legally liable for the injuries.”
Lynn said he didn’t know specifically what the school did, if anything, to rectify how the tables were stored.
“The school works tirelessly to make sure conditions are safe and reasonable,” the lawyer said. “The school is very concerned that all of its students are safe. If there are accidents, the school will consider what has happened and make any changes that are sensible. The safety of the students is our highest priority.”
Emily Joselson, an attorney for the family, said the lawsuit also intends to make sure an incident of this nature doesn’t happen again.
“Whatever steps are necessary to make sure kids are safe when they are in gym class,” she said.
Joselson also said Mariah has “recovered a lot of her functions but she is still suffering from limitations and some pain primarily due to pins in her leg.”
The attorney said the student helping Mariah carry the table also hurt her foot.
Both parties are waiting on a scheduling order from the court.
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