Tyler Rothenberger v Kent School District
Result – $2 million and a letter of apology from the school district
When you send your child to school, you have a right to trust that he or she is safe. School districts have a legal responsibility to do everything in their power to make sure that is the case. This has been backed up by numerous court cases over the years. Fortunately, most days pass by without children being subjected to serious harm.
For Tyler Rothenberger, Dec. 3, 2007 was not most days. A student of Kent School District who was successful in both academics and athletics, Tyler went to wrestling practice that day expecting to put in his best effort like every other day. Instead, while trying to move large wrestling mats, Tyler fell through a glass window, nearly amputating his left arm. The loss of blood from such a traumatic injury could have cost him his life, but thankfully he lived. However, he sustained very serious and permanent damage to his left arm. The school denied any responsibility for Tyler’s injury, but the Perey Law Group effectively demonstrated the district’s negligence upon taking the boy’s case.
The case settled for $2 million and a letter of apology from the school district.
School Districts Must Protect Their Students
In an article about the case published in WSAJ Trial News, Ron Perey and his fellow attorneys discuss the legal responsibility schools bear to keep students safe and the precedents that have established this responsibility.
Schools have a duty to protect students in their custody from reasonably foreseeable harm … Because the school has a special relationship with its students, it must ‘exercise such reasonable care as a reasonably prudent person would exercise under the same or similar circumstances.’
In the case of Tyler’s injury, many contributing factors should have been recognized as unsafe.
- Wrestling practice was recently moved to the cafeteria, where there were walls with ceiling-to-floor, non-safety glass windows.
- A 2002 inspection prompted a Seattle & King County Public Health and Safety inspector to notify the schools that safety glass must be installed in all large glass areas in the building. The notice went unheeded.
- The athletic director and wrestling coach chose the spot next to the non-safety glass windows to stack the mats, despite other options.
- Against district policy, the new wrestling coach was required to supervise more than 60 wrestlers on his own for the first hour of practice every day.
Injuries Will Impact Tyler For Life
The day he was injured, Tyler’s athletic career came to an end. Beyond that, he had to undergo seven surgeries to stabilize his arm. Even so, he no longer has use of his left thumb, has permanently lost feeling in his left hand and fingers and has daily pain associated with the injured arm. Due to loss of use of his left arm, Tyler may have trouble finding employment and will never get to serve in the military, as he once dreamed he would. At time of the trial, he worked as a receptionist in a hotel lobby for minimum wage.
“Had (the school district) appreciated the danger of young bodies in motion around large glass windows, Tyler would have the full use of his left arm, a full scholastic and athletic career, and the life he should have had. This $2,000,000 settlement will again change his life and allow him to pursue his dreams with financial security.” Ron Perey wrote in WSAJ Trial News.
By demonstrating the negligence of KSD and the seriousness of the financial and emotional impact of Tyler’s injury, the attorneys at Perey Law Group were able to obtain a $2,000,000 settlement for Tyler more than five years after the date of his injury. He can now use his new-found financial security to pursue a better quality of life.
The is just one story in which Perey Law Group has obtained justice for victims who deserve it. There are many other examples. Contact us today if you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury and is in need of legal representation.