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Parents Sue City Over Broken Legs at Park Slope Playground

By Leslie Albrecht | November 1, 2013 6:53am
 At least five children were injured on a swing in Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street in Brooklyn.
Parents Suing City Over Injuries at Brooklyn Playground
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PARK SLOPE — At least five families whose children wound up on crutches after playing on a South Slope swing plan to sue the city over the injuries.

The parents of five kids who fractured their legs while playing on the swing at Slope Park on Sixth Avenue and 18th Street have filed notices of claim with the city and plan to file lawsuits, attorneys for the families said.

"This was an accident waiting to happen," said attorney Robert Kelner, whose firm Kelner & Kelner represents four of the children. One child required surgery after the injury.

Kelner said he knew of three other kids who fell victim to the equipment, but who aren't represented by him.

Photos of the swing show that it was too close to the ground, making it dangerously easy for little legs to get caught, Kelner contended.

"It is outrageous when one child is hurt on a device which is moronically set up, but when seven kids break their legs, and this all occurs in a short period of time in a New York City park where children are playing, it's frightening that no one from the city saw this device set up at this height and shut it down," Kelner said.

Kelner attorneys are investigating who was responsible for installing the swing, and whether the manufacturer's instructions were followed. In the notice of claim documents they've filed with the city, they point the finger at the Parks Department for positioning the swing "dangerously close to the ground" and failing to remove it after several children were injured.

The Parks Department did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

The family of another little girl who was hurt on the swing is also planning to sue, said her attorney, Mark Seitelman. His firm represents Erin Frazier, a P.S. 295 fourth-grader who fractured her leg on the same day as another child.

The swing was installed as part of a major renovation at Slope Park, and kids were eager to try out the new equipment when the park reopened after a lengthy closure in June 2013.

But just a week and a half later, one of Kelner's clients fractured her left leg on the swing. After several other kids suffered similar fates and parents called 311, the swing was removed in September.

A spokesman for the swing's manufacturer, Landscape Structures, Inc., said the equipment appeared to be incorrectly installed. Landscape Structures, based in Delano, Minn. has sold 300 such swings across the country. The one in Slope Park is the only one in the New York City area, a spokesman for LSI said.

There's been one other case of a reported injury on the swing, which is called the Oodle swing. In Boston in 2012, a child was injured on a swing that was improperly installed, the LSI spokesman said.

"The fact that there are so many fractures — it's proof that this was a disastrous setup," Kelner said.