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Mich. Boy Killed Doing Pull-Ups When Wall Collapsed

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on November 02, 2011 6:49 AM

Williamston High School freshman Gabriel Corbett was killed last week when a cinder-block wall collapsed in the boys' locker room.

The 14-year-old Michigan resident had reportedly jumped and grabbed the top of the 8-foot wall so that he could do a pull-up. Minutes later, the wall collapsed, burying him and causing him to go into cardiac arrest.

Police have declared the incident an accident and an autopsy is in the works. In the meantime, school officials will continue to investigate.

That investigation will ultimately help determine what legal action is taken by Gabriel Corbett's family. But as of this moment, there is no indication that Williamston High School did anything wrong.

In fact, the district has said that there was no reason to believe that the wall was structurally unsafe, reports Reuters. It was built in 1990, and there have been no complaints since.

Additionally, the wall was likely inspected just after it was built. State law requires approval from local fire officials before new school construction can be used.

Despite this, the school does have a legal obligation to keep students and faculty safe from easily discoverable defects. Even though there were no known safety problems at the school, district officials likely had an obligation to inspect the premises on an annual basis.

If the inspection ocurred and included the wall, Williamston High School likely has little legal responsibility for this tragic accident. If it failed to conduct a proper inspection, it might be responsible for Gabriel Corbett's death.

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