- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The city of St. Paul has agreed to pay $1 million to the families of two children who were killed and one who was injured in a landslide during a school field trip last May, according to documents released Thursday.

The City Council is scheduled to meet Wednesday to approve the settlement agreement, which was posted on the council’s website as part of the meeting agenda.

The families of the children who died - Haysem Sani, 9, and Mohamed Fofana, 10 - would each get $400,000, while $200,000 would go to the family of Devin Meldahl, 10, who suffered skull, leg and rib fractures.

The fourth-graders were part of a group from Peter Hobart Elementary School in St. Louis Park that went fossil hunting at Lilydale Regional Park, which runs along the Mississippi River. They were in one of the park’s clay pits when part of the bluff gave way, bringing down sand and shale. Geologists say rain likely played a role, as there was light rain the day of the field trip and several inches had fallen the week before. The pits were popular destinations for school trips but have been closed to the public since the accident.

Two city-funded investigations last year found that city employees knew of past landslides in the park but could not have predicted the tragedy. The agreement states that the city denies liability but wanted to avoid litigation. The families had filed notice of their intent to sue but not an actual lawsuit.

The settlement says the sides agreed not to comment to the media except to say “the case was resolved to the mutual satisfaction of the parties and their counsel, and to respond to any further inquiries by saying ‘no comment.’”

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