Shopping cart attack victim ‘shadow of her former self’
A Barnard-educated Upper West Side philanthropist is now an incontinent “shadow of her former self” and can no longer make love to her husband after she was hit by a cart hurled 79 feet from a shopping mall overpass, her lawyer said Friday.
“What happened to Marion Hedges was avoidable. It never would have happened had even the most basic security been observed by the owner defendant and by the security defendant in this case,” attorney Thomas Moore said in opening statements in Hedges’ Manhattan Supreme Court negligence trial.
Hedges, 53, leaned on a cane in the courtroom gallery as Moore told the jury about the 2011 tragedy that left her severely brain damaged, with limited vision, incontinence and trouble completing basic tasks.
The teens who tossed the cart over the ledge served time in juvenile facilities, but Hedges is suing the East River Plaza mall and its security firm for millions in damages. Target, which owned the cart, already settled for an undisclosed sum.
Moore revealed in opening statements that two similar incidents had occurred at the East 117th St. mall in the preceding months.
In January or February 2011 employees from one of the plaza’s retailers grabbed two boys before they threw a cart over the rail of a walkway, Moore said. Then on Oct. 10, 2011, three kids tossed a shopping cart down an escalator.
Hedges and her son were shopping for Halloween candy for needy kids on Oct. 30, 2011, when “suddenly a huge force hit her, knocking her to the ground, leaving her literally lifeless,” Moore recounted.
Matt Ross, the mall’s lawyer, blamed the tragedy on the cart-tossing teens. Planned Security Services counsel Jeffrey Van Etten said his client was hired to “patrol,” not “police” the plaza.
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