State Supreme Court looking at case of girl’s death in gym

school gym
Posted at 2:20 PM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 14:20:05-05

GWINN, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday in a dispute over whether an Upper Peninsula school is liable for the death of a 4-year-old girl who was accidentally killed in 2015.

The family of Amarah Filizetti is trying to persuade the Supreme Court to reverse the opinion of the Michigan Court of Appeals.

Amarah, 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.

With some exceptions, schools have immunity under Michigan personal injury law. The appeals court ruled in favor of Gwinn, saying leaning a stage cover panel against the wall before it fell doesn’t fit an exception.

“This is not a building defect. This is not part of the building,” Gwinn attorney Tim Mullins told the Supreme Court.

An attorney for the family, J. Paul Janes, said a jury should be allowed to hear the case.

“Amarah’s injuries were the direct result of the dangerous and defective condition itself — the unsecured, detached massive wall panels leaning precariously against the wall. Part of the building fell on her,” Janes said in a court filing.