Sometimes you just wonder what on earth people are thinking.

After spending over $80,000 installing metal domes (how it came to that astronomical number, I'll never know) for children to play on at the new Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Empire State Development Corporation, which oversees the park, removed those domes after receiving numerous complaints that the domes - which sit directly in the sunlight - actually got hot, and was burning childrens' hands and feet.

In a move that was clearly calculated to head off any thoughts of litigation, or more specifically, a defective products or personal injury claim by any of the children (or their parents), the manufacturer issued a statement claiming "The domes met national and international play structure safety standards."

But does that really matter?

Interestingly, not as much as you might think.

As a New York appeals court recently held, the Consumer Products Safety Commission's published guidelines with respect to playground equipment are not binding or authoritative on manufacturers. In fact, they may not be relied upon to establish a negligence or defective design claim at all.

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