Archive for Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Parent who fell on ice sues school district

August 28, 2007


A parent who slipped on ice outside East Heights Early Childhood Center is suing the Lawrence school district.

In the lawsuit, filed in Douglas County District Court, Barry Carver claims he suffered permanent injuries when he fell Jan. 16 in the school's parking lot while dropping off his child.

Carver is seeking more than $300,000 in damages.

The lawsuit claims the district was negligent for failing to keep the grounds clear. Carver also states the district created a nuisance by holding school during dangerous weather conditions.

Spokeswoman Julie Boyle said the school district could not comment on pending litigation.


Kevin Millikan 9 years, 11 months ago

Gee, do you think taxes will go up? This is whats wrong with the world today, people see dollar signs and sue for anything.

Dale Stringer 9 years, 11 months ago

Maybe he just moved from south Texas where they don't know that water can freeze without the help of a refrigerator.

craigers 9 years, 11 months ago

Another dummy out to make some money. Sad but he will probably win some money.

Eric Neuteboom 9 years, 11 months ago

Dollars to donuts this guy's home was not cleared of all ice...

monkeyhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

"Parent who fell on ice sues school district" --- should read "sues his neighbors and citizens of Lawrence", you know, the ones who pay the big bucks for shiny, new buildings and educators for his children.

On the other hand, the school district should have no free pass from clearing their grounds. Property owners don't.

otto 9 years, 11 months ago

We should close the entire city in the winter. Business, city services, everything. This guy is an obvious lazy, money hungry piece of crap.

sourpuss 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow, you people are incredible. I'd like to know how many of you would pull the trigger if you slipped on someone's property. The city has a responsibility to keep walkways clear of dangers and obstructions. Ice can be nearly invisible, and quite dangerous. I am sure the man incurred some medical bills that need paying and may have missed work or even lost his job. None of you know. It will go to court and the jury will decide, and if some of you are on the jury, then make your judgment then. Of course, the school board might settle, which they probably should.

I wish him luck on his case, and if the city wants to avoid such things, keep the city safe.

Bud Stagg 9 years, 11 months ago

They won't give him much. The lawyer will get most of it. I've been on juries of slip and falls, most Juries don't go for suing schools. Now if he slipped at Wal-Mart....

who wins the Wal-Mart pool?

mick 9 years, 11 months ago

I just wish they would publish the names of the lawyers in cases like this.

costello 9 years, 11 months ago

"Wow, you people are incredible."

Thank you, sourpuss. It's amazing to me that people can express such strong and negative opinions based on virtually no information.

Emily Hadley 9 years, 11 months ago

$300,000 from the school? Sure, because they have tons of money and don't use it for anything good ...

Instead, how about reprimanding whomever was in charge of the grounds that day? Maybe paying his doctor bills, if he had any? Or maybe just wearing proper shoes for winter?

I had to stop attending KU during all Spring semesters because, after recovering from a car wreck and going back half-time, I fell four times on ice and seriously re-injured myself. It took me ten years to finish my degree at 1/4 to 1/2 time, but I certainly didn't receive any sympathy from KU. They told me plainly that ice on sidewalks was an unfortunate but inevitable part of winter.

What they did do, however, was build a very nice staircase where people used to have to climb a steep path, which was one of the places I got hurt. I believe that the construction of that staircase was directly influenced by several patient and constructive conversations I had with administrators at KU.

I also once called the Chancellor's office directly during a winter storm that had cars and buses stuck on Naismith hill, and though I was very upset and angry, I managed a pretty civil, brief conversation describing what I was seeing and experiencing (knowing that the Chancellor himself has only a short walk on level ground each morning to get to his office). Classes were canceled, midday, within ten minutes of that conversation.

Regardless of my inability to attend during winter months, I don't think any litigation would have had as positive an effect for others as those conversations.

Never underestimate the value of communication to improve things!

Tony Kisner 9 years, 11 months ago

Is this the same guy that shut down the schools by calling in a fake threat?

kugrad 9 years, 11 months ago

They clean the sidewalks at East Heights but you still have to be careful. It isn't reasonable to think that EVERY last bit of ice will be removed. What a loser. He isn't trying to keep the city safe, he's trying to take some of our tax dollars for being a dumbass.

NotRobertoGonzales 9 years, 11 months ago

Wow, most you folks are pretty sad.

Do you either work for the insurance company ('cause, let's face it, the school district's not going to end up doing anything but pay $1.34 more in annual premiums - IF they pay out the whole amount) or just so sick of being thought of as the kind and rational "blue heart of red Kansas" that some of your vitriol needs to spill out?

Now, I'm not a lawyer, but it seems most of you think you know the facts... so let's check that out:

  1. What were the conditions on the day in question? Were nearby school districts closed? Were local officials (outside of the School district) warning of conditions and closing official offices?

  2. Did the facility have a reasonable amount of personnel (to properly clear and maintain the premises) on duty in the hours before declaring itself open for business? Or was the facility's sole janitor left to clear overnight icing so that 3 to 5 year olds could safely walk in - when they arrive half an hour before school opens? Was a single entrance cleared and everyone directed toward it? The school district DOES have a responsibility to make the grounds safe - especially it's areas for handicapped students and faculty.

  3. Was there no negotiation prior to this filing? Did the school's insurance company adequately cover medical expenses and recovery costs for someone who, for all any of us knows, broke their neck and is now permanently disabled?

  4. Should we bother looking into it, or just go over to the guys house and beat his children and set a cross on fire? Or should we leave it - to the system WE made for such things? (and, if it's imperfect... who d'ya think's to blame???)

  5. Perhaps the LJWorld would like to explain why this was even included as "news"... when other filings of the day were ignored? Perhaps to give the rabid rabble something to moan about instead of taking an interest in actually going out and bettering their community?

I've said it before... Lawrence is a funny ol' town. A little to the left of Woodstock and a little to the right of Goldwater. But, that's a guy named "Barry" too.


NotALBERTOGonzales 9 years, 11 months ago

Everyone knows that a $300,000 suit is $30,000 worth of real damages. The victim ending up with a quarter of the settlement.

497 is gambling they'll get off a bit cheaper than they should and the attorney is betting it'll be a little higher and the 30% lawyers take these cases for will end up being 75%.

I'd bet anything that 15,000 would have covered the whole tab and made this go away.

Shame on 497!

costello 9 years, 11 months ago

"The ones defending the litigious guy are probably those who view him as they would a lottery winner-'go for it buddy-that's exactly what I'd do. Hope I get my chance some day.'"

Wow! Are you a mind reader, Pywacket? That's exactly what I was thinking. ::rolls eyes:: Anyone who doesn't agree with you is a low-life?

Is it conceivable that there's more to this story than presented here? The law on premises liability differs a lot from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. And most torts cases hinge heavily on the circumstances of the incident. Since none of us here appears to be an expert on premises liability in Kansas and none of us appears to have any facts whatsoever about this incident - including the extent of the man's injuries - we can't actually reach an informed opinion about the merits of his claim.

The thing that really astounds me is that the comments are so ugly and hateful.

I'm not a litigious person. I've never sued anyone and have no interest in doing so. Litigation is expensive, stressful, and time-consuming - and the outcome is uncertain. Furthermore I agree with Emily that other methods of settling differences should be exhausted first. My father was sued once, and I witnessed the extreme stress it put him through. Eventually he settled, although I believe he was in the right.

Sometimes, though, it's necessary to sue in order to defend your rights. Not every slip and fall case is bogus. In general, a property owner has a duty to remove obvious hazards which may injure visitors. And people are sometimes seriously injured falling on ice.

Here's another way of viewing this issue: Basically most places in the United States are safe. I visited an African country some years ago and found a lot of premises to be unsafe and dangerous. A friend who grew up in that area told me that the people there believe strongly in fate. She specifically stated that if a child died in an accident, the parents would never sue because they would feel that it was God's will. It occurred to me at the time that we have much to thank our litigious neighbors for. Because of people like Mr. Carver, property owners have strong incentive to keep their premises safe and in good repair.

kugrad 9 years, 11 months ago

Geez Costello, get off your high horse. Every school in the district has people out cleaning off the sidewalks long before they open. The discrict needs no incentive from lawsuits, they are already taking care of business. The chance of neglect here is extremely minimal. The chances of someone hoping a bueracracy has deep pockets is very high. The chance of a frivolous lawsuit is greater than the chance of it being with merit in this case, especially when one considers the whole accusation - that school should have been cancelled (as though the parent had no choice as to whether to send their child no optional, non-compulsory preschool). He slipped. His bad luck. Not worth $300000

Centrist 9 years, 11 months ago

Simple solution ... post a sign saying "Danger - Ice. We Cannot Be Held Responsible"

costello 9 years, 11 months ago

"Geez Costello, get off your high horse."

What's your definition of being on a high horse, kugrad? Refusing to draw conclusions without facts? Not making crude, nasty comments about strangers on a public forum?

"He slipped. His bad luck. Not worth $300000."

Well, thanks for settling that! We can now dispense with the justice system. :-)

Confrontation 9 years, 11 months ago

NotRobertoGonzales aka Barry Carver: I'm so glad your first post could be on this topic.

costello 9 years, 11 months ago

"But do I hold my employer accountable for the patch of ice I fell on?"

You probably wouldn't be able to press a tort claim against your employer even if you wanted to. This would be a work comp case. The way I understand it, negligence wouldn't be an issue.

Just curious: If you have a wife or dependent children and you'd died in this accident, would you want compensation on their behalf? Or do you advocate embracing personal responsibility in that case as well?

ralphralph 9 years, 11 months ago

It's Kansas. Winter gets cold, ice and snow often result. You've gotta wear the right shoes and pay attention, and even then you sometimes take a dive. It just happens.
As for the landowner's responsibility ... last I recall, you have a duty to try to do "reasonable" clearing once the snow/sleet/ice stops falling. What's reasonable can vary alot, by circumstance and setting, but it does not require complete clearing and a guarantee of no slick spots. I am semi-famous for ice-diving ... the hometown newspaper put a photo of me, in mid-air and on the way down, right of the front page. I loved it. People who file slip-n-fall suits are idiots and a bane to society. A pox on the jerk and his jerk lawyer.

NotALBERTOGonzales 9 years, 11 months ago

=Hoo= that was fun.

Let's do it again sometime.

NotALBERTOGonzales 9 years, 11 months ago

I would NOT!

I mean... I don't recall.

I mean... I'm not me.

Crispian Paul 9 years, 11 months ago

Seriously, I would like to know how many of us have ever slipped on ice, in Kansas, in the dead of winter (oh, the shock and horror)? I know I have. I actually fell on ice and got a concussion as a six year old on my way into the school. Now, I would like to know how many have sued for this? This dude will probably complain about the sad state of teachers and classrooms in Lawrence while couting his $300,000.

breeze 9 years, 11 months ago

I hope Mr. Carver successfully makes his point that the lot needs to be safe to walk or drive on if the district expects the children to attend class. There's no reason anyone should be expected to risk breaking a limb just because some people are blind to the realities of the brutal, dangerous winters here.

NotRobertoGonzales 9 years, 11 months ago

Breeze, you're a breath of fresh air.

But, I've made my point for the day and, as a newcomer to the forum, it's nice to have such a warm welcome.

Thanks all.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 11 months ago

Must be a JoCo transplant. No self respecting lawrencian would consider blaming anyone but himself for falling on the ice.Those people for some reason seem to have the idea that nothing bad or inconvenient shall ever befall them.Otherwise someone will owe them money or a favor.

Godot 9 years, 11 months ago

Ever hear of "ice grippers"? They sell 'em on late night tv. $9.99 a pair, and, if you buy tonight, you get two pairs for the price of one, plus shipping and handling.

Hoots 9 years, 11 months ago

One word to desribe this guy...TOOL!!! My ex-wifes step father sued a doctor for malpractice. In truth there was nothing the doctor could have done to keep his condition from getting worse. The damage was done by the time he got to the hospital. Behind closed doors he would put his cane down and dance around laughing about the whole thing. On the outside he would use this stupid cane and act hurt. The whole thing frosted me to no end. So many of these cases are total crap and we all pay for it. How about some tort reform.

pace 9 years, 11 months ago

So a large part of the vocal locals think it is ok for school drop off sites not to be salted or snow removed. If it was a kd that got hurt or one of you buzzards then it would be serious. Also we don't have black ice or sub zero weather in kansas.? I think if you think the weather is dangerous keep your kid home. If they were open in below zero weather or if a storm was forecast I just kept her home. I don't drive in bad weather unless I have to. If you think a cyclone is coming don't wait for a siren. If you think the conditions are dangerous remember you are the parent.

Bill Chapman 9 years, 11 months ago

As a child, I learned how to run across a frozen pond wearing cowboy boots. I and some friends also used to play tag and hide and seek in a fairly dense wooded area. We learned how to run at top speed through the trees and brush without tripping or hitting a tree. I later went to LHS before it was split up(my senior class had over 600 students), I learned how to NOT trip when some one's foot gets tangled up in mine trying to get to my next class(in fact it was sometimes faster to walk around the building than through it). This does not mean I never fall down when I walk on ice. It does mean I use common sense in the winter and LOOK for ice before I walk on it. I do NOT expect every sidewalk in Lawrence to be clean of snow, ice, or other debris at ANY time of the year(city code requires property owners to do so though). If you can't walk and chew gum at the same time, do one or the other first. In other words, if you can't pay attention to your surroundings while walking, maybe you should learn how to do so.

This goes hand in hand with preventing someone from jumping you when walking late at night too.

Bill Chapman 9 years, 10 months ago

Academia has its perks - reality based on books read, not always on real world experience.

sourpuss 9 years, 11 months ago

You people are still incredible. You can all glean so much information from a couple of sentences. None of you know ANYTHING about this case and you have no idea what kinds of injuries were involved. None of you know the cost of that fall. None of you know the condition of the sidewalk. You are all ASSUMING a very great deal. Clearly, none of you believe in the courts, none of you believe in a jury by peers, you all think lawyers are awful and people who sue are moneygrabbers, and you are all wailing for someone to "suck it up" or to "be careful" when you are all ignorant of the circumstances. What amazes me more is that some of you actually seem to emotionally care about something you know nothing about. No wonder this country is so messed up. Faith-based reasoning - if you believe something to be true, it must be.

I'll take a line from Adam from Mythbusters: I reject your reality and substitute my own. Why don't you all just keep off your keyboards instead of participating in belittling the gentleman who fell? I'm sure you all have something better to do with your time.

sourpuss 9 years, 11 months ago

Actually no, I don't! Summer for me still ;) Academia has its perks.

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