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Settlement reached in injury to kindergartner

Settlement reached in injury to kindergartner

Child's injury required surgery, physical therapy

SCHENECTADY -- A Scotia-Glenville family has been awarded a $100,000 settlement for an injury to kindergartner that happened at Sacandaga Elementary School, according to a court filing.
The injury, which required surgery to the student's hand, happened when a shelving unit holding wooden blocks tipped over on April 7. A finger on the child's right hand suffered damage, the petition states.
State Supreme Court Justice Vincent J. Reilly Jr. approved the settlement in an order filed Friday. Judicial approval is required for settlements involving minors.
The filing indicates the $100,000 settlement is coming largely from the school district's insurance carrier. A district spokesman refused to comment on the case.
The boy suffered a fracture-dislocation of the finger as a result of the incident, according to the filing. In addition to surgery, he required physical therapy and may require another surgery in the future to improve movement, the filing reads.
Martin D. Smalline, the attorney representing the family, couldn't be reached for comment. He filed the petition on behalf of the boy, identified as Cooper Cornelius, and his parents, Deanna and Gary Cornelius. 
Attorneys for the family alleged negligence on the part of the Scotia-Glenville Central School District by having inappropriate and unsafe shelving for use in the kindergarten "that consisted of a wooden unit set on six wheels that is clearly a tipping and crushing risk for small children when pulling blocks from the unit," the petition states.
The lawsuit stated the hazard extended to children using the cart as support to assist them with standing, "which children of that age are prone to and expected to do," the petition states. The accident happened when the boy tried to remove a block from it.
The family also contended the district failed to adequately supervise or protect the child from the "unstable shelving unit."
Smalline noted the insurance company indicated it tested the cart. Without revealing the results, the company indicated it would consider settling, and they then arrived at the settlement amount.
The family's portion of the settlement is to be held for the boy and will be paid out in installments after he turns 18, the petition states.

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