February 3, 2017

Church Not Liable For Guillotine-Like Kneeler Causing Injuries To Parishioner


Church Not Liable For Guillotine-Like Kneeler Causing Injuries To Parishioner

On the night of October 24, 2009, at the Saint Francis Cabrini RC Church located at Coram, NY, Virginia Morris stood up to receive Communion. The kneeler, (which parishioners flip down to rest their knees on during kneeled prayer), moved from its stationary upward position and struck her left shin causing a laceration. The laceration caused bleeding, which required stitches and eventually led to cellulitis, which required surgical skin grafting. Virginia Morris sued St. Francis for personal injuries.

During her deposition, Virginia testified that she never complained about the kneeler being defective or dangerous, nor, to her knowledge, had anyone else ever complained about it. According to St. Francis, the kneelers were used several times per week for multiple mass services both before and after Virginia’s accident with no incidents, including by Virginia who continued to sit where the accident took place when she returned to church following her injury. Additionally, all the kneelers were regularly inspected.


The court ruled: “As it is just as likely that the accident was caused by some other factor, such as Morris knocking the kneeler down when trying to stand, any determination as to [the church’s] negligence would be based on speculation.”


Morris v Saint Francis Cabrini Roman Catholic Church http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/pdfs/2016/2016_32460.pdf

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