Lawsuit Filed After Girl’s Death at Head Start in Dearborn Heights
On the morning of January 20, 2017, three-year-old Lilliana Kerr and her twin sister were brought to St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in Dearborn Heights, Michigan, where the girls were enrolled in a Head Start program. In the school’s gymnasium, several fold-out cafeteria-style tables are built into the walls. When the tables are folded up and not in use, latches are used to keep the table in place and heavy mats are used to cover them as an added precaution.
On that day, one of the mats in the gymnasium was laying on the ground after having fallen down. When Lilliana was in the gym during recess that day, playing near the fallen mat, the table very suddenly fell on her. School staff administered CPR and first aid while waiting for emergency assistance to arrive. Lilliana was then taken to Oakwood Beaumont Hospital where she later died of blunt head trauma. Lilliana’s sister was not in the gym at the time of the accident.
In the days following the accident, it was announced that Tabatha Kerr, Lilliana’s mother, did not plan to file a lawsuit at that time. However, on April 12, 2017, news broke that Tabatha had filed a $10M wrongful death lawsuit over the death of her daughter. In addition to naming the St. Albert the Great Catholic Church, where the accident happened, her lawsuit was also filed against the Archdiocese of Detroit and Wayne Metro Head Start. While the Archdiocese of Detroit oversees the church itself, the Head Start program at this location is operated by Wayne Metro Head Start.
If a child is injured while at school or daycare, it’s important to talk to a childhood injury lawyer as soon as possible. Suing schools can be complicated, but they still have a responsibility to keep the buildings and grounds as safe as possible for their students by eliminating any reasonably foreseeable hazards. In this case, the lawsuit is accusing the defendants of failing to take adequate steps to prevent the tables from falling unexpectedly.
Kerr’s lawsuit claims that the fallen mat which Lilliana had been playing by that day had fallen about 30 days prior to the accident. When it was announced that Kerr wasn’t immediately planning to file a lawsuit, the attorney representing her also stated that the accident happened at an older former parochial school and was looking into more information about the tables themselves.