WILKES-BARRE — A Luzerne County judge has approved a $225,000 settlement between the Diocese of Scranton and a Tunkhannock couple whose 6-year-old son was injured when a tombstone fell on him at a diocesan cemetery in Freeland three years ago.
According to the suit filed by Patrick and Linda Frame, they and their son were visiting a relative’s grave at St. Ann Cemetery on July 1, 2010, when the boy touched a tombstone and it suddenly fell over onto him, breaking his leg.
Judge Michael T. Vough signed off on the settlement on Thursday morning.
The Frames, who are represented by Kingston attorney Brian C. Corcoran, filed their complaint in June 2011, alleging four counts of negligence. They argued that the diocese “failed to perform reasonable inspections and knew or should have known of the hazardous conditions of the tombstone.”
Corcoran added that “other tombstones had previously toppled over, and therefore (the diocese) should have been aware of the existence of the problem.” As well, he argued the cemetery failed to stabilize the tombstones, and it did not provide any warning to visitors of possible hazards.
In addition to a fractured left femur, the child suffered injuries to his left cheek; abrasions to his hip, face and chest; severe shock and continuing pain and suffering.
Under the settlement, the parties agree that it is “the compromise of a doubtful and disputed claim and that payment made is not to be construed as an admission of liability” on anyone’s part.
According to court documents, $115,003 would remain for the boy after payment of $18,761 to cover a medical lien, $1,234 in litigation expenses and $90,000 in lawyer’s fees.