Maryland Injuries to Minors: Family Settles Personal Injury Lawsuit Over Acid Burn Injuries Sustained by Boy on Playground Slide

In Maryland, the family of a young boy who sustained serious burn injuries from sulfuric acid that two teenagers poured on a playground slide have settled their injuries to minor lawsuit. Payton Potochne was just 2 when he went down the slide that had industrial strength drain cleaner on it. The injury accident occurred at Victory Villa Elementary School.

It wasn’t until he was taken to Franklin Square Hospital that doctors determined that there was sulfuric acid on the boy’s legs and he had sustained second- and third-degree burns. The hospital had to evacuate the emergency room and the toddler was taken to Johns Hopkins Burn Center. Since the tragic playground incident, Payton has had to undergo over six surgeries, including numerous skin grafts. He will also need medical care for life because of his injuries.

A hazmat team poured thousands of gallons of water onto the slide to remove the chemical from the playground. A Baltimore County Police Department spokesperson says the dangerous liquid had been poured onto all the different playground rides, including the monkey bars and the jungle gym.

The two teens, Matt Dybala and Kyle Meredith, had told police they poured the acid onto a plastic sliding board to see if it would melt, which it didn’t. Police, however, contend that the teenagers poured at least two bottles of the chemical onto the slide and used a brush to apply the acid onto other playground equipment. Criminal charges were filed against both Dybala and Meredith, who were both found delinquent in juvenile court.

Last year, Payton’s parents filed a $6 million Maryland personal injury lawsuit against the teenagers’ family. While the terms of the injuries to minors and children settlement have not been disclosed, the lawyer for Payton’s family says that his clients will receive the maximum payments allowed under the homeowners insurance policies of the plaintiffs’ parents.

The Baltimore County Board of Education is the remaining defendant of the personal injury lawsuit. A civil trial is scheduled for the fall. Payton’s family says the board shouldn’t have kept the drain cleaner bottles in its maintenance shed, which had been broken into in the past.

Boy’s family settles with teens who poured acid on slide, The Daily Record, May 26, 2009
Police: Playground-Dousing Teens Intended To Cause Injury, WBALTV, April 23, 2007
Toddler hospitalized with burns from acid on playground slide, USA Today, April 15, 2007
Related Web Resources:
Sulfuric Acid Facts,

Johns Hopkins Burn Center

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