Wired Glass Risks a Continued Area of Concern in Schools, Public Areas

In less than a week, the Canadian General Standards Board’s recently-established committee of glass industry members, users and regulators will hold its first meeting to discuss potential changes to the federal standard for wired glass. The standard has not been updated since 1990.

The meeting, to be held May 21, will address the issue of wired glass and the dangers it poses in public areas—an issue that garnered much attention in April as the result of a $5 million (CAD) lawsuit filed by Sean Lloyd against the Halton Catholic District School Board in Ontario, Canada.

Despite the enormous amount of media buzz that followed, Lloyd’s lawsuit isn’t the only one of its kind currently in motion. According to court documents obtained by USGNN.com™, at least three more cases involving wired glass are pending—two others in Ontario and another in New Jersey.

Both Ontario cases were filed in 2010 but are still in the process of motioning back-and-forth, according to Greg Abel, president of Safe Glass Consulting and director of government relations for Safe Glass Solutions out of Seattle. Abel as been retained by each of the plaintiff firms mentioned, including Lloyd’s.

The first of the two was a $1 million suit against B. Lester Pearson Collegiate Institute and the Toronto District School board involving Ravelle Sidial, whose arm allegedly went through a wired glass door after running through the hallway at the Institute, according to court documents. Sidial suffered “severed tendons to his right hand and a severed artery” which required surgery and “extensive and painful physiotherapy.”

Sidial’s initial claim, which included accusations of negligence regarding the school and board’s safety practices, was filed in July of 2010 and is still in litigation. So is a later case involving Devon King, who initially claimed damages totaling $2 million against Best Value Motel Inc.

In 2009, King pushed on a door at the Days Inn Kingston (Ontario) made of wired glass, which resulted in the glass panel shattering and “permanent and serious injury to Devon’s arm and shoulder,” according to court documents. The door allegedly had a sign that read “push” on the glass panel King’s arm went through. Abel says King has since changed law firms, and he expects both King and Sidial’s cases will come to a close soon.

The third case, however, involving Sergio Jiminez and the Board of Education Morris Hills Regional District in New Jersey, was initially filed in January of 2013 and is still early in the litigation process in relation to similar cases, such as the prior two mentioned.

Jiminez filed a claim alleging he suffered permanent injuries when his arm went through a window made of wired glass as he was leaving school one afternoon in early February 2011. According to court documents, Jiminez claims his injuries were “a direct result of the Defendants’ failure to adequately operate, design, maintain, repair, and/or upkeep the glass window in the door at the School Building.”

Abel, who has been a leading advocate for safe glass practices since his son was injured in a wired glass accident in 2001, says that he’s pleased the recent attention has been brought to the issue of the risk of wired glass, but hopes the powers that be keep the pedal down this time around.

“We start to gain some momentum, and then another priority will take its place. And we don’t get back on track until the next tragic event,” he says. “. . . That’s the part that really bothers me.”

“. . . This is an issue that’s been ongoing for many, many years. Many children have suffered the consequences of our lack of addressing it. Now as a result, what it took was filing a lawsuit against one of largest school districts in all of Canada for a rather large sum of money to get the attention, to say, ‘Okay, we can’t ignore this any longer.’”

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