Conn. couple awarded $31 million after URI pond accident left man paralyzed

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A jury has awarded $31 million to an Iraq War veteran and his wife after a swimming accident at the University of Rhode Island left him paralyzed from the chest down.

The Providence Journal reports a Superior Court jury ruled in favor of Brett and Stacie Smith, of Farmington, Conn., on Thursday in a lawsuit against URI.

Brett Smith was injured in 2014 when he struck his head on a submerged rock in a pond at URI’s Alton Jones campus. He was there to attend a wedding and was among other guests swimming in the pond.

His lawyer says staff members had indicated swimming was allowed, even though it is prohibited. The lawsuit accused URI of negligence.

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The Journal says a URI representative did not immediately respond to an email.

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