The city is paying $1 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the parents of a two-year-old boy injured at a city-run Easter egg hunt.
The Honolulu City Council approved the settlement Wednesday.
In 2008, Jordan Reiny attended the hunt with his family at Kaimuki Community Park. He fell off a retaining wall and hit his head.
The family’s attorney, Mike Cruise, said Reiny suffered permanent brain damage, and the city has made some improvements to make the event safer.
But Cruise adds that the city “could definitely do more.”
Cruise says he’s surprised that eight years after the incident, the city still has not made enough safety improvements at the park where it happened.
The lawsuit claims Reiny got separated from his grandmother and fell off a four-foot retaining wall.
“They brought them down the steps, and the steps were too small,” Cruise said. “There was a big crowd that formed at the top of the wall and that’s where things went wrong.”
Cruise says the city should have known that the conditions posed hazards to the safety of the public, and the city failed to provide adequate crowd control.
“What they’ve told me is that they now use volunteers and city staff to make sure that they’re not letting crowds gather at the top of this wall,” he told KHON2. “They’re bringing them around the way they’re supposed to do it back when Jordan got hurt.”
But Cruise says he can’t understand why the city has not installed some type of railing on the wall. “There just should have been a rail there as there is on the other half of the wall,” he said.
Some say it’s only a matter of time before somebody else falls, and then city taxpayers will have to pay even more money.
“Yes, it is a good idea to put a fence around it like the other side,” said Kaimuki resident Audrey Smith. “It would help. It would help a lot to secure the place for children.”
We tried to get the city to respond to why the railing has not been installed, but a spokesman for the mayor’s office says he can’t respond because of the lawsuit, even though it’s already been settled. He adds that that there are still more details that need to be worked out.
As for the family, Cruise said they are relieved that the litigation is over.