(CN) – A boy who lost three fingers in a fireworks accident cannot collect damages because he broke the law and should have known better, a New York appeals court ruled.
After watching a YouTube video about blowing up carbon dioxide cartridges with powder from leftover fireworks, 14-year-old Evan Hatch called a friend, Branden Wolfe, over to “light up some boom booms” in October 2007.
Hatch, Wolfe and two other boys went to the woods and watched a fuse burn for 30 seconds before igniting the cartridge into an explosion.
Wolfe tried to ignite the second cartridge, but it blew up in his hand, causing the amputation of his second, third and fourth fingers. He later was fitted with a prosthetic that required the amputation of his entire hand at the wrist.
Branden and his mother, Suzanne, sued Evan’s parents, William and Melissa Hatch, and the other two boys, for damages.
A Saratoga County judge dismissed the claims against Melissa and the two boys.
Evan and his father appealed the decision, arguing that the suit should have been dismissed for them, too.
The Albany-based Third District New York Court of Appeals agreed that Wolfe cannot recover damages.
Justice John Egan Jr. characterized the incident as a “sufficiently serious violation of the law as to preclude recovery for the unfortunate injuries sustained.”
Brandon cannot argue that he did not know what he was getting into, Egan wrote for the court.
“Whatever doubts Branden may have had in this regard – and any corresponding failure to appreciate the power and/or hazardous nature of the device in question – were laid to rest after he personally witnessed the magnitude of the first explosion,” he wrote.