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Soup burn victim gets $80,000 to settle suit

Niagara County will pay a woman $80,000 to settle a lawsuit over spilled soup.

Emily A. DePronio, of Niagara Falls, a culinary arts student at Niagara County Community College, sued the county and NCCC after she suffered second-degree burns on her hands and forearms in a collision with a cart bearing four containers of hot chicken stock.

The settlement, approved Tuesday by the County Legislature's Administration Committee, faces a final vote by the full Legislature next week.

DePronio's attorney, Gerald Grace Jr. of the firm Walsh, Roberts & Grace, said the accident happened Nov. 19, 2010, in a storage area across the hall from the NCCC cafeteria in Building G on the Sanborn campus.

Another student was pushing a cart with four uncovered 4-gallon containers of the broth. DePronio bumped into the oncoming cart in a doorway.

"She came around the corner, and the cart was right there in the doorway. She bumped her shin on it and fell into the containers," Grace said.

The lawsuit didn't name an amount of damages sought. Grace said the woman's injuries weren't permanent.

"That's why the case didn't settle for that much, because she didn't have any permanent scarring," Grace said.

DePronio spent five days in the burn unit at Erie County Medical Center, Grace said.

Charles E. Graney of the Webster Szanyi law firm briefed the committee on the case behind closed doors before the vote.