Court of Appeals dismisses schoolgirl's injury claim, overlooks defense attorney's misconduct
Amanda Berry fell off the stage at Dearborn Heights Montessori school during Family Night activities and suffered severe injuries. Her parents filed suit against the school, arguing that the stage should have been closed for the event because, lacking any railing, it was a hazardous condition for young children playing. At trial, the defense attorney was prohibited by the judge from arguing that the mother was inattentive and at fault for allowing the injury to occur. Nevertheless, he made several references to the fact that the mother "wasn't paying attention to" Amanda when she fell, ostensibly to prove that she didn't know how Amanda fell. The jury gave a verdict to the School and the family appealed.The Court of Appeals held that a stage is not an inherently dangerous condition and refused to acknowledge the Defense attorney's misconduct in side-stepping the trial judge's rulings. The Court followed Supreme Court precedent in refusing to consider whether active negligence by the school staff, in failing to restrict acces to the stage, was the true cause of the injuries by focusing solely on the school's fault resulting from "a condition on the premises."