$10 million lawsuit filed after girl’s death at Head Start


DEARBORN HEIGHTS, Mich. (AP) — A $10 million wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the family of a 3-year-old Detroit-area girl who was killed at a Head Start program when she was struck by a table that folded into a gymnasium wall.

The Archdiocese of Detroit, Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency and St. Albert the Great Church in Dearborn Heights are named in the civil suit.

Lilliana Kerr was struck by the table on Jan. 20. She was pronounced dead the same day at a hospital. A medical examiner ruled that she died of accidental blunt-force trauma.

Lilliana was at recess in the Head Start program that was operated by Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Wayne County Circuit Court, described tables in the gymnasium as cafeteria-like, heavy and wooden. Each also had multiple locking and safety mechanisms to prevent the tables from falling. Mats or padding were placed over the tables when retracted into the wall “thereby providing additional safety precautions,” according to the lawsuit.

Lilliana was playing or resting on or near a mat when a table and attached benches “unexpectedly and without notice detached from the wall and fell directly” onto the girl, the lawsuit said.

The suit also said that about 30 days before the accident, the mat covering the table that struck Lilliana had fallen to the floor.

The Associated Press left phone messages Wednesday with the Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency. The Detroit Archdiocese does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Ned McGrath said.

A status conference on the lawsuit is scheduled for July 11, according to court records.

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