February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 31

64; 2014 N.Y. App. Div. LEXIS 3527;
2014 NY Slip Op 3585 (5/15/2014),
plaintiff Jeremy Jimenez was injured
when he fell from a piece of playground equipment. In his complaint,
Jimenez alleged the piece of playground equipment was inherently
dangerous. In so doing, plaintiff submitted an affidavit in which his expert
claimed " the flat, circular spinning
playground disc " from which Jimenez
fell had a " defective design. " Specifically, " the mere presence of excessive
speed caused plaintiff to be ejected
from it. " In response, the city of New
York brought a motion for summary
judgment to dismiss the claim that the
playground equipment from which
the plaintiff fell was inherently dangerous. In so doing, however, the city
failed to offer any supporting evidence
or testimony to refute the opinion of
plaintiff 's expert and conclusively establish " it did not create the unsafe
condition by installing an unreasonably dangerous piece of equipment. "
Since reasonable minds could differ on whether this particular piece
of playground equipment was inherently dangerous, the court denied
the city's pretrial motion for summary judgment. Accordingly, plaintiff
could continue to pursue his claim in
further trial proceedings. At trial, to
establish liability, plaintiff would have
to convince a jury that this particular
spinning playground disc, more likely than not, was inherently dangerous. In other words, it is much easier
for a plaintiff to overcome a pretrial
motion for summary judgment than
establish liability at trial and obtain a
final judgment awarding damages.
Settle or Litigate?
Accordingly, the Jimenez opinion
may not be as legally significant as it
might first appear because the court
	

never reached a final judgment on
whether plaintiff 's injury on this
particular " circular, spinning playground disc " was indeed attributable
to negligence on the part of the city.
That being said, once a pretrial
motion for summary judgment is denied, a public entity may find it more
fiscally responsible to settle a claim,
rather than aggressively defend itself
in costly and time-consuming trial
proceedings before an unpredictable
jury. A settlement to avoid further
trial proceedings is not an admission
of any liability, nor should the business decision to settle necessarily be
equated with negligence liability under similar circumstances.
In response to a case like Jimenez,
the mere threat of liability may unfortunately have been sufficient to
prompt the New York City Parks
Department to dismantle or remove
pieces of spinning disc equipment
from neighborhood playgrounds. If
so, such a response to a perceived
threat of liability, however, does not
reflect the reality of negligence liability in public parks and recreation.
On the contrary, liability is the exception rather than the rule in reported
case law defining negligence liability
in public parks and recreation. The
mere occurrence of an injury and/or
the filing of a lawsuit should not be
equated with liability.
Reasonably Safe Playground
In sharp contrast to Jimenez, another
New York opinion involving an injury on spinning playground equipment granted summary judgment to
the town of Babylon. In so doing, the
court found the town had effectively
refuted plaintiff 's allegations of negligence with evidence indicating the
playground was in a reasonably safe
condition at the time of the injury.

In the case of Villatoro v. Town of
Babylon, 2013 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS
3185; 2013 NY Slip Op 31640(U)
(7/12/2013), a 3-year-old was injured when he fell from playground
equipment in a town park. Plaintiff 's
mother, Johanna Villatoro, testified
that she had brought her young son,
Sebastian, to the playground many
times. At the time of the accident,
Sebastian was " playing on a spinning wheel when he fell and broke
his arm. " The wheel apparatus, identified as the " twister, " was 64 inches
above the ground.
As described by Sebastian's mother, there was a small platform that
Sebastian stepped on with a wheel
above him. Sebastian stepped off of
the platform after grabbing the wheel,
which started spinning. Sebastian
spun around for half a circle and fell
to the ground. The mother testified
that she " did not see any signs on the
playground which indicated there was
an age restriction, but that she saw a
sticker which had Spanish words and
the numbers 'five' and '12'. "
Plaintiff 's mother alleged that the
town was negligent in " failing to install sufficient signs to notify users
as to the age appropriateness of the
playground. " In response, the town
argued that any failure on its part " to
provide sufficient age-appropriateness
stickers " did not create a dangerous
condition that caused the accident.
The public works coordinator for
the town testified that there was " no
set inspection schedule of the parks,
but that if employees of the fence
crew find a dangerous condition, they
would repair it. " Further, the coordinator stated that " a cleaning crew
cleans the playground every morning. " Moreover, the public works coordinator testified that he was " not
aware of any complaints regarding

W W W. N R PA . O R G | F E B R UA R Y 2 0 1 5 |

Parks & Recreation

29



February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of February 2015 - Parks & Recreation

February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 1
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 2
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 3
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 4
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 5
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 6
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 7
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 8
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 9
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 10
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 11
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 12
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 13
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 14
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 15
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 16
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 17
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 18
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 19
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 20
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 21
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 22
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 23
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 24
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 25
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 26
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 27
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 28
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 29
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 30
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 31
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 32
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 33
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 34
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 35
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 36
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 37
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 38
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 39
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 40
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 41
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 42
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 43
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 44
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 45
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 46
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 47
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 48
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 49
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 50
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 51
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 52
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 53
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 54
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 55
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 56
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 57
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 58
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 59
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 60
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 61
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 62
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 63
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 64
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 65
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 66
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 67
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 68
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 69
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 70
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 71
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 72
February 2015 - Parks & Recreation - 73
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2021
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2020
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2016
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2015
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2014
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2013
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2012
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2010
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2009
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com