Woman Falls at Saxe, Sues Town and School Board

Filed earlier this month, the suit cites a fall on snow and ice at the middle school two years ago.


New Canaan is facing a lawsuit filed this month that says the town’s neglect led to a fall on snow and ice at Saxe Middle School.

Maureen Giangrande is seeking more than $15,000 in the civil suit, according to a complaint filed Feb. 6 by New Haven-based Balzano & Tropiano.

According to the suit, Giangrande “sustained or exacerbated serious, painful, disabling and chronic injuries, some of which may be permanent” when she fell on a sidewalk at the school around 9 a.m. on Feb. 26, 2011.

The suit says that on that day “and for some time prior to that date, snow and ice frequently melted and refroze on the sidewalks of Saxe Middle School, routinely creating a dangerous and defective condition.”

It isn’t clear where Giangrande is from or why she was at Saxe on that day. Giangrande’s attorneys could not be reached for comment. New Canaan Administrative Officer Tom Stadler declined to comment, citing the pending litigation.

The town of New Canaan, Board of Education and Department of Public Works all are named in the suit.

On Feb. 13, the town filed a motion to dismiss the DPW from the complaint “due to the fact that the Department of Public Works is not a legal entity capable of being sued.”

According to the suit, Giangrande suffered several injuries and problems as a result of the fall, including: ankle fracture, ligament tear and scarring from surgery.

“She was forced to endure the discomfort and use of crutches as well as casts and walking boots,” the suit says. “She experienced acute anxiety attacks, accompanied by its usual signs and symptoms, and she endured great pain of mind body and humiliation.”

MPM February 27, 2013 at 12:29 PM
That was the Saturday of Feb. vacation in 2011 so what was she doing there? Also, wasn't that the winter that, every time it snowed, we got about 4 feet of the stuff? Why wasn't she more careful? People like her make this town so paranoid that kids can't even have a bake sale anymore. ridiculous
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 27, 2013 at 12:59 PM
@MPM, Yes you are right, that is the winter that we got hammered with snow just about every week for months on end, the one where we learned about roof rakes and a lot of buildings had collapses because of the weight of snow they were carrying. -Mike
Glen K Dunbar February 27, 2013 at 01:02 PM
I have to somewhat concurr MPM. What was She doing there?? That is KEY!! I also do not feel it is appropriate to blame the town or Saxe for this. I would sue the NWS for making it snow in the first place (yea, reallYY!) Oh how I would LOVE to get back at the NWS for all the bad weather. Today is real crumby out. At least it is rain though. But, still. NWS stop w/the bad weather !!
Craig February 27, 2013 at 01:23 PM
sounds like a junk suit, but hyena lawyers need to attempt to make a living. hopefully the town sets an example of zero tolerance for crappy suitts. whitepages.com has her telephone number in greenwich. tell her how you feel. maybe she was tresspassing and should be arrested.
Baffled Resident February 27, 2013 at 02:24 PM
MPM, the sidewalks are on Farm Rd. and South Ave. I'm not following your questioning of why this lady was there. Those sidewalks are not exclusively for the use of people having business at Saxe. Their open to everyone, 24/7.
Roger Sterling February 27, 2013 at 02:49 PM
This woman is pathetic. Is she going to sue next time she steps in a puddle and her shoes get wet?
JMF February 27, 2013 at 04:44 PM
If she really was hurt on school property for some event she attended (I assume that she and her attorneys can offer proof for this), how was she able to repair all those injuries for only $15,000? (Is this a correct figure?) The article says she claims she fractured her ankle and tore her ligament (how awful, if true) and had surgery to repair them, wore a cast and used crutches (suggesting physical therapy). My husband had similar injuries, subsequent surgery and therapy; his surgery alone was far more than $15k. Is there a second part to this suit?
max February 27, 2013 at 05:25 PM
There was snow on the ground in new England during February? Is that legal?
max February 27, 2013 at 05:33 PM
Lives in Greenwich, not new Canaan. Appears to have been a teacher in bedford in 1998 and received tenure just as she was going out on maternity leave. http://www.users.cloud9.net/~stark/tn21ja98.txt
max February 27, 2013 at 05:37 PM
Oh, and gala Co-chair a few years back.... http://www.panachemag.com/WebEditorial/TheBuzz/socialmay.asp
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 12:33 AM
I am told by one reader that the plaintiff here may have been attending the CT State Regional Swimming Championships that day at the New Canaan Y. It's possible that during a swim meet, visitors are directed to park at Saxe or the high school. -Mike
Glen K Dunbar February 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM
A Yes. I have seen that. There are tons of people who go to the Y on Saturday. They do park at Saxe I think. Since school was closed though I am not sure if they are required to do the snow removal right then and there.
Please! February 28, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Humiliation?! I don't understand how breaking an ankle and being "forced to endure" using crutches and wearing an ankle boot is humiliating. Honestly, I'm sorry she broke her ankle, and I have no doubt that it was painful, but if humiliation is part of the suit then perhaps some psychotherapy is in order. And, yes, snow melts and refreezes when it's cold out. It's kind of hard to predict these things and be able to address the situation the moment it occurs. The sidewalk can get slippery sometimes and now and then someone may fall down. I'm sorry, folks, but that's life! When oh when will people start accepting the fact that not everything is someone else's fault???
Holley Wright February 28, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Fell at a friends last winter on ice, tore my MCL, had lots of phys therapy, surgery, crutches, and more physical therapy, life happens, that's why you have medical insurance, not lawyers, my friend doesn't even know it happened at her house...
spencer richardson February 28, 2013 at 09:15 PM
BLAME THE LAWYERS! As some of the comments to the article noted, $15,000 isn't very much for the reported injuries, so her lawyers are assuming that the Town will just settle. The amount she has requested for damages is a whole lot less than the Town's lawyers will probably charge in just the first week of dealing with this case! You get a good picture of the kind of lawyers these are - they will get paid on a contingency fee basis, and will likely collect at least 1/3 of whatever she recovers. So if the town pays her the full $15,000 to avoid the litigation, the lawyers will get all of $5000, probably plus their out-of-pocket costs. Talk about your schlock lawyers.... There is another name for that type of lawyer - "ambulance chaser." If lawyers had more integrity, they would would tell their clients that these kinds of lawsuits are inappropriate, a waste of money and should not be brought. But they don't, so we, the taxpayers who have to pay the bills, have to suffer. BLAME THE LAWYERS!
Michael Dinan (Editor) February 28, 2013 at 09:32 PM
Just dropped into court house to have a look at the summons. The plaintiff is a Greenwich resident. Regarding the amount of compensation sought in the suit, my understanding is that $15K is a tipping point between two brackets: There's less than $15K and more than $15K. In this case the plaintiff is seeking more -- how much more is unclear. -Mike
Baffled Resident February 28, 2013 at 10:58 PM
Absolutely correct, Michael.


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