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Too much green

Under the auspices of the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, lots of things grow on trees.

Funding to pay lawsuits does not.

That’s why the Parks Department went to court not once, but twice, to whittle down a jury-rendered verdict forcing them to fork over $3 million to a child seriously injured after falling off a ladder in Van Voorhees Park.

According to recent court documents, the six-year-old girl was climbing a seven-foot steel ladder attached to some playground equipment in the park by Congress and Columbia streets back in 2000 when she slipped on a wet rung and fell, suffering Type II supracondylar fracture to her left arm.

The injury was so severe that the jury determined that the girl had been left with a permanent disability and awarded the child’s family $500,000 for past pain and suffering and $2.6 million for future pain and suffering.

This January, attorneys for the Parks Department went to court claiming that the verdict was too excessive. A judge agreed, narrowing the judgment to $300,000 for past pain and suffering and $900,000 for future pain and suffering.

But, at least to the Parks Department, the reduced verdict was still pretty excessive, so much so that they made a second attempt to have it reduced.

Yet Judge Francois Rivera wouldn’t let them and denied their motion to vacate the handout that the first judge had already given them.

The victim’s family now has the decision to accept the new $300,000/$900,000 verdict or reargue the case, Judge Rivera noted.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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