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Defendants File Motion for Summary Judgment in New York Appellate Court


This case involves Lauren Vazquez, who is an infant under the age of fourteen represented by her natural guardian and mother, Inais Vazquez and Inais Vazquez individually as the plaintiffs. The defendant in the case is the Bellmore Union Free School District. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in Nassau County.

This action was started by the plaintiffs by filing a complaint and summons on in December of 2007. The complaint alleges that the defendant was negligent when they failed to provide adequate supervision while on a field trip which resulted in Lauren tripping and falling. The defendants have moved for an order to dismiss the complaint awarding a summary judgment in the matter.

Defendant’s Argument

The defendants have filed an instant motion in the matter arguing that the alleged failure to train their staff and provide adequate supervision was not the cause of Lauren’s accident and resulting injuries. The defendant further argues that there is no evidence to support any type of breach of duty on the part of the defendant.

As evidence to support their case the defendant’s offer transcripts of testimony from Kenneth Andreas, a student and non party witness, Maureen McCarville, a classroom teacher, and Paul Deturiss who was a parent chaperone on the trip.

Plaintiff’s Argument

In opposition, the plaintiffs allege that the supervision was inadequate and that the student Kenny was warned about running in the museum and if he would have been properly supervised then the accident would not have occurred. The plaintiff’s further argue that the defendant failed to adequately train their staff and parent chaperones. In addition, the plaintiffs state that the scavenger hunt that was included in the field trip encouraged running and reckless behavior from certain students and the dangerous conduct was foreseeable.

Case Facts

On the 28th of September, 2006, the sixth grade class from Shore Road Elementary School in Bellmore, New York went on a planned field trip to the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum in New York City. There were 180 students in the group, 8 classroom teachers, teaching assistants, and parent chaperones. Each group of five or six students was assigned an adult chaperone. Lauren’s group included Kenny. The chaperone of her group was Mr. DeTurris.

Around 2 p.m. Mr. DeTurris told the group to move from the scuba exhibit to the next exhibit. However, he did not go with the group and instead stayed behind for five or ten minutes to observe a particular display. Lauren states that at this time other students in her group began running when they saw an amusement ride. This ride was not included in their trip.

Lauren states that when she was walking away from the scuba exhibit Kenny pushed her while he was running and caused her to trip and fall on the molding of a doorway. She sustained a fracture to her wrist that required medical treatment and corrective surgery.

Case Discussion and Decision

The court has reviewed the facts of the case and has found no evidence to support the claims made by the plaintiff. There is no evidence that the children ran at any other time during the day. In addition, there is no evidence to support the theory that the accident was foreseeable. For this reason, the motion for summary judgment dismissing the complaint in favor of the defendant is granted.

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