In 2011, a woman named Marion Hedges was nearly killed by a shopping cart thrown from a parking garage at the East Plaza Mall in Harlem. Hedges had just finished buying Halloween candy for children in need with her then-13-year-old son, and was standing at a parking kiosk, according to KPTV. At that moment, two boys threw a shopping cart off a parking garage, which fell four stories, almost 70 feet. The cart struck Hedges on the head, who stopped breathing and ultimately suffered brain damage, reported the New York Times.
Still to this day, the lawsuit said that Hedges suffers from the consequences of brain damage. These include symptoms such as double vision, incontinence, memory loss, and “diminished cognitive abilities.”
Now, a jury has awarded Hedges $45 million in a lawsuit that claimed that the mall owner and security company, Planned Security Service, were at fault for allowing kids to turn the mall into a “mini war zone.” The lawsuit divvied the damage into percentages, saying the boys who threw the cart were 10 percent responsible, the security company 25 percent responsible, and mall at 65 percent culpability.
Hedges did not sue the 12 and 13-year-old boys that threw the cart. Instead, the blame was directed at the mall and security company, as the lawsuit claimed that it was a known problem that objects were being thrown off the parking garage.
The jury also awarded $2.5 million to Hedges’ son, and another $2 million to her husband.
And still giving as ever, Hedges says that she will donate some of the awarded money to a youth center.
The lawyer for the security company, Jeffrey Van Etten, says that they will be appealing the decision. If the company is successful, the judge could lower the award amount that will be given to Hedges. Etten commented on the incident.
“It’s a very difficult case because of what happened to Mrs. Hedges, and we all feel for her. We all wish her well. We hope she can continue to improve. Unfortunately, this case will have to go on further.”
Surveillance footage from the scene reveals that three boys were on the fourth-level walkway of the parking garage. One of the boys looked as though he was trying to stop the other two from throwing the shopping cart over the ledge, but ran away before anything happened. The other two boys proceeded with their prank, which could have ended in a fatality.
Hedges is a known philanthropist and charity board member.