Housing authority found not liable
The plaintiff, a 5-year old girl, fell through a screen in a third-floor apartment window in a building owned by the defendant, a housing authority. She had heard fire engines and wanted to get a closer look. According to the mother’s deposition testimony, the minor plaintiff unlatched and raised the window and then leaned against the window screen to look outside. The screen gave way and the child fell three stories, sustaining a closed head injury, facial abrasions and fractures, right open radial and ulna fractures, and broken teeth.
We argued that the authority had not been negligent in repairing or maintaining the window and had responded appropriately to the plaintiff’s previous requests to secure the screens. We unsuccessfully moved for a directed verdict on the grounds that the authority had no duty to provide a childproof window screen and that an unsecured window screen was the cause of the accident. The plaintiff was also permitted to introduce evidence of subsequent repairs to the screen the day after the accident.
Nonetheless, the jury found in favor of the defendant after deliberating one-and-a-half hours.