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Child Awarded $2 Million in Damages for Field Trip Injury

November 18, 1990

ALEXANDRIA, La. (AP) _ A state judge has awarded more than $2 million to a child injured when an adult-sized metal swing slammed into her hip during a kindergarten field trip.

Jennifer Mangel, 7, was injured on May 25, 1988, during a field trip to Parent’s Park at Pinecrest State School, a residential school for the mentally retarded.

Lee, who heard the case in May without a jury, awarded $2.1 million in damages to Jennifer and $250,000 to her mother, Nancy C. Glanker of Alexandria.

Lee found the Rapides Parish School Board and the state Department of Health and Hospitals, which runs Pinecrest, equally at fault for Jennifer’s injury and liable for the damages.

State attorneys said Friday they would appeal Lee’s ruling, saying his findings were erroneous and the damage award was excessive. An attorney for the school board said the board was considering an appeal.

″To date Jennifer’s life has been very sad to say the least, but the quality of her future life is even worse ...″ District Judge Robert E. Lee wrote in his opinion, released Wednesday. ″Jennifer has nothing to look forward to but a life of surgery, pain, anxiety, mental anguish.″

A metal glider-type swing weighing about 60 pounds hit Jennifer on her hip when she slipped while pushing a friend. Lee said an expert calculated the swing hit her with about 300 times the force of gravity.

The judge said the the children were not adequately supervised and the park was not safe for children.

Joseph T. Dalrymple, an attorney for Jennifer and her mother, said the girl has had two operations and will need several more. She also is likely to suffer from severe arthritis and may need a hip replacement when she is in her 30s, he said.

She now wears a brace shaped like a metal girdle that keeps her legs spread wide apart to reduce pressure on the hip joint, Dalrymple said.

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