Sixteen-Year-Old Awarded $135,000 for School’s Negligence

Sixteen-Year-Old Awarded $135,000 for School’s Negligence

The Yakima School District in Washington state has settled with the family of a 16-year-old girl for a playground attack occurring over nine years ago at Whitney Elementary School.  The settlement awards the girl and her parents $135,000 for the debilitating injuries suffered as the result of an incident occurring on November 12, 1997, when the second-grader was attacked by two other second grade boys who kicked her right leg unremittingly. 

The family of the young girl filed a personal injury lawsuit in 2003 claiming that the school was negligent in their supervision of the children, which consequently lead to the girl’s injuries. 

According to attorneys representing the plaintiff, identified as initials B.V., the girl who is now 16 years old suffers from a serious condition called reflex neurovascular dystrophy and has required surgery and physical therapy, among other costly treatments. 
B.V. allegedly would not return to school after the attack and as a result had to take home schooling correspondence courses. 

Lawyers for the school district contended that Yakima School District should not be held liable for the attack since they had no prior evidence of the two young boys displaying destructive or irrational behavior, that would lead them to believe there was a problem. 

The defense also maintained that despite the girl’s allegations, there were oddly no witnesses to the attack, even though the playground was densely populated. Lawyers also added that there was no evidence of negligent supervision on the part of the playground monitors, and monitors cannot be expected to be everywhere at one time. 

Nonetheless, the school reached a settlement with the family through mediation just shy of the civil trial date, scheduled for this following Monday. 

Of the settlement, the victim will receive approximately $60,000 and her parents Edgar and Vicki Vertrees will receive $3,500.   The rest of the damages will go towards attorney fees and the Department of Social and Health Services, for medical expenses accrued. 


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