Sometimes, it is quite apparent that reports of settlements are leaving out some critical details.

Consider the negligent supervision/school accident case of Fortson v. New Hartford Central School District, a case that was venued in upstate New York. In this case, a teenage girl and her parents sued to recover damages after she nearly drowned at her grade school graduation party. In this lawsuit, they sued the local swim club, as well as her school's PTA, who organized the event, apparently claiming that her incident would not have occurred had they not been negligent in failing to oversee properly the swim event.

Here are the parts I don't get: (1) the report on the settlement of this case (it settled for $250,000) indicates that she nearly drowned, but didn't actually drown; and, (2) the plaintiff was retrieved from the pool within 30 seconds of her going underwater.

Both of these factors would seem to suggest that nothing serious happened. But that stands at stark odds with a $250,000 settlement. Unfortunately, the report of this case doesn't clarify anything further.

My guess? This teenage girl suffered a terrible injury from being underwater and oxygen-deprived.

Jonathan Cooper
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Non-Compete, Trade Secret and School Negligence Lawyer
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