Volume 46, Issue 7 - August 2011

Legislation&Legal

Oregon Jury Finds for Injured Victim of Wired Glass Accident

A Multnomah County, Ore., jury, has determined that Portland Public Schools (PPS) was negligent in a 2007 accident, in which then 13-year-old Shakiya Sargent’s right leg pierced the lower glass lite of the interior wire-glass doors that separated the cafeteria from the art hallway at Beaumont Middle School. The jury awarded Sargent $222,000 in damages; however, reports note that due to tort limits this will be capped at $147,000.

According to the complaint, the accident occurred when Sargent was late for art class and, with her arms loaded with books, kicked the heavy door open with her right foot. As the complaint alleges, “the glass in the door was wired glass, designed not to shatter upon contact.” It also alleges that the defendant, PPS, was “warned by the superintendent of Public Instruction about documented serious injuries to students as a result of collisions with wired glass.”

The complaint reads that “the defendant knew that students foreseeably run in school hallways; and that wired glass in a doorway located in a high traffic and spill intensive area . . . [caused] students to be subjected to an unreasonably greater risk of severe injury.”

Greg Abel, whose son Jarred was severely injured in a 2001 wired glass accident, was retained by the law firm as an expert in the case. According to Abel, prior to Sargent’s accident the school system had received memos and notices concerning wired glass. However, according to one local news report, “when Keith Dozier, one of Shakiya’s lawyers, deposed teachers, custodians and administrators at Beaumont, not one remembered a single word of warning from the district on the problems with wire glass.”


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