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Maryland Student Fatality Leads to Wrongful Death Settlement


The Worcester County Board of Education recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit involving a 2016 student fatality, according to an article by The Dispatch. School officials declined to comment on the monetary value of this settlement.

This wrongful death lawsuit originated in January of 2016. At that time, a 15-year-old boy with a seizure-related medical condition was a student at Cedar Chapel Special School. The boy was participating in Adaptive Aquatics activities when he lost control and submerged under the water.

A Cedar Chapel staff member removed the boy from the pool and attempted to administer first aid. Even though the boy had a pulse and was breathing, the staff member used a defibrillator. When those attempts were unsuccessful, the boy was transported to the Peninsula Regional Medical Center for immediate medical treatment. Unfortunately, medical staff were not able to rectify the issue, and the boy later died from his injuries.

In January 2019, the boy’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Worcester County Circuit Court against the staff member, Cedar Chapel, and the Board of Education. This wrongful death lawsuit alleged personal negligence by the staff member for failing to:

  • Recognize the danger of swimming activities given the boy’s seizure-related medical condition; or
  • Halt the swimming activities when the boy demonstrated unusual behavior by submerging under the water.

The wrongful death lawsuit claimed that these negligent actions were the direct and proximate cause of the boy’s death. Furthermore, the lawsuit argued that Cedar Chapel and the Board of Education should share responsibility for the fatal accident. Overall, the boy’s parents requested a damages award of approximately $400,000.

In response to the lawsuit, legal counsel for the staff member, Cedar Chapel, and the Board of Education filed a motion to dismiss. Legal counsel argued that there were numerous deficiencies with this wrongful death lawsuit, claiming that:

  • Cedar Chapel should not be liable because it is not an actual entity, just a structure;
  • Employees of the school system are usually protected from liability by virtue of their employment; and
  • The damages claim exceeded the $75,000 limit and, thus, should not feature a specific amount.

While the Circuit Court considered the merits of the motion to dismiss, the parties continued to negotiate behind the scenes. On October 30th, the boy’s parents and the school system reached a settlement to resolve this case. The exact amount of the settlement is unknown at this time. In consideration of the valid settlement, the school system also withdrew their motion to dismiss this wrongful death case.

Do You Need Legal Help?

If need legal help with a wrongful death lawsuit in Maryland, it can be tremendously valuable to contact a seasoned personal injury lawyer. The Baltimore wrongful death lawyers at Iamele & Iamele, LLP have demonstrated experience in matters of personal injury law, including wrongful death lawsuits. If you need legal help, please contact us today for a free initial consultation.





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