Michigan high court reinstates lawsuit by of family whose 4-year-old died at UP school

The Michigan Supreme Court has overturned a decision and reinstated a lawsuit by the family of a 4-year-old girl who was accidentally killed at an Upper Peninsula school in 2015.

Civil immunity can apply to schools under personal-injury law. But the Supreme Court, in a 4-3 order, said there still are questions of fact about the incident to be sorted out in Marquette County court.

Amarah Filizetti, the daughter of a cheerleading coach, died when a 325-pound panel fell on her at Gwinn High School. Staff were in the process of putting the panel in place to shield a portable stage in the gym.

The Court of Appeals had ruled in Gwinn’s favor and dismissed the lawsuit, saying the panel wasn’t part of a building defect. But the Supreme Court disagreed.

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"When the panel fell, it had been leaned at an angle against a gym wall, instead of being secured to the wall and floor, as was its original and normal state," the court said Wednesday. "A reasonable jury could conclude that this constituted a ‘dangerous or defective condition.’"