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Liability Claim Example: Setting up for an event

The organization was setting up for a charity event when two members of the organization were pushing a student employee on a 25 foot tallescope ladder. The two women pushing the ladder ran over an extension cord on the floor which caused the ladder to topple over and the student employee to fall 25 feet to the ground. The student employee sustained a traumatic brain injury as well as severe injuries to her face, jaw, and teeth. 

A lawsuit was filed naming the volunteers, organization and the charity. The University was immune from tort liability because it is both a governmental entity and because it provided workers’ compensation benefits to the injured student employee. It was defense counsel’s opinion that a jury would likely place 25% liability on each volunteer/member, 25% liability on the organization and 25% liability on the University. Even though a jury may have apportioned liability to the University, they would not have had to make any payments. It was also believed that the two members would have been immune from liability based on the state’s Volunteer Service Acts.  

The University agreed to waive their subrogation lien of $1,500,000 which aided in the lawsuit settling for $850,000 during mediation. It is unknown if the charity paid a settlement.