Child Scalded at School over Hot Cocoa ($20,000)

An 11 year old girl suffered a scalding injury at a Minneapolis Public School. She had stayed after school with the rest of her Safety Patrol Group, who all returned to the teacher’s room for hot chocolate. The teacher allowed the students to pour their own boiling hot water into each other’s cups, using a teapot with a loose lid, without any adult supervision. As one child was pouring the boiling hot water, the loose top for the teapot tipped off, spilling boiling water over the Plaintiff’s left forearm, wrist, and hand.

The Plaintiff sustained second degree scald burns. She received minimal treatment, comprising of Silvadene cream and bandage changes. She suffered a slight pigment change on her dark skin, although with time that change improved and became less noticeable. The burns healed without complication. Minimal scarring remained.

During negotiations, the School District was relying upon a statute that they claimed provided full immunity due to the cost of insurance. At the same time, the statute was being challenged in the appellate courts in a different case. Denise Fullerton convinced the District that the statute was going to be defeated, and that they had to accept liability for her client’s injuries. As a result, she was able to secure a $20,000 settlement for her young client.

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