Claiming Musical-Chairs Injury Arkansas Woman Sues for $75K

July 12, 2015

A former student of a Malvern college wants the state of Arkansas to pay her $75,000 in damages after she said she broke two fingers during a classroom game of musical chairs.

Robin Earnest of Saline County said she and two others were vying for one available chair when the accident occurred in 2011. She said she won the game, intended as a motivational exercise, but was hurt in the process.

The former College of Ouachitas student, who had been on the dean’s list, filed a claim with the Arkansas Claims Commission in November 2011, about seven months after she said she hurt her hand.

Earnest, 46, told the commission that she was compelled to participate in order to earn class credit, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. She said the state should pay her for her surgeries, physical therapy, mental and emotional distress.

She and her husband both are on federal disability and support themselves and their children with payments from the state, according to documents filed with the commission.

But attorneys with the state attorney general’s office said that the school wasn’t negligent and that Earnest had admitted before that she hurt her hand while helping someone move.

Instructor June Prince said that she discussed the injury with Earnest roughly two weeks after the game. She said that Earnest told her that she’d reinjured her fingers by slamming them into a door while helping someone move to a new residence.

Both Earnest and her husband denied that before the commission, which didn’t issue a ruling.

If commissioners determine that the state was negligent, Earnest will be given a separate hearing to determine damages.

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