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Dangerous Fireworks

FIREWORKS DISPLAY PREMATURE EXPLOSION FAILURE TO SUPPLY ASSISTANT WITH REMOTE EQUIPMENT FRACTURED FINGER

Settlement:   Christine Britton v. Bay Fireworks, Inc. 34227/97
Case #:   XVI/35-45
Date:   Wednesday, December 09, 1998
Court:   Nassau Supreme
Plaintiff Attorney:   Anthony T. Ballato, Massapequa
Facts:   This action settled prior to trial for $22,500. Pltf., a 32-year-old nurse, claimed that on 6/10/95 at approximately 8:30 PM she was injured during a fireworks display at the Patterson Fire Department. Pltf. was hired as an "independent contractor" to assist with the set-up and display of Deft.'s commercial fireworks. She claimed that there was a defective fuse on a firework resulting in a premature explosion. Pltf. also claimed that Deft. failed to adequately warn and train and negligently provided her with a hand flare rather than remote electronic equipment to ignite the fireworks.

Deft. would have argued that Pltf. assumed the risk and that she was comparatively negligent. Deft. would have testified that a remote electronic ignition was not warranted on the subject display, but used on a larger "synchronized" display. Deft. attempted to argue that Pltf. was an employee and that she could not sue under the Workers' Compensation defense.

Injuries: fractured right (dominant) index finger; bruises and burns that have resolved. Pltf. has some limited range of motion and chronic pain of the finger. Offer: $5,000; demand: $45,000. Carrier: Lexington.

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