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Partner Matt Devoti recently won an appeal for a client, a middle school student, who broke his wrist during gym class playing ‘long base’, a variation of kickball. Matt represented the client both before the trial court and the appellate court.
He brought suit against the physical education teacher that taught the class and the teacher’s employer, the Iberia R-V School District. Days before jury trial, the trial court granted summary judgment to the teacher under the Paul D. Coverdell Teacher Protection Act of 2001.
The teacher claimed that he was immune from suit and shielded from liability as a result of the Coverdell Act, a federal law passed by Congress as part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The purpose of the Coverdell Act is to permit teachers to act with confidence in disciplining students and maintaining order in the classroom. The court entered the judgment believing the teacher was entitled to immunity under the Coverdell Act despite his negligence.
Devoti argued the teacher was negligent for placing the ‘long base’ bases too close to the gymnasium walls, which resulted in the student crashing into a wall and breaking his wrist, and for negligently providing first aid after the injury.
He also argued the teacher was not entitled to immunity under the Coverdell Act as the teacher’s actions, which the student challenged, were not taken to control him or his classmates in connection with the maintenance of order and discipline in the classroom. Rather, the student stated, his suit criticizes actions taken by the teacher either teaching his physical education class or in attempting to provide first aid to the student after he broke his wrist.
The Missouri Court of Appeals agreed with the firm’s client and the Court reversed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the teacher and ordered the case to return to the Circuit Court of Camden County for jury trial. The Appellate Court affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment for the school district, which had previously been granted.
This case stems a recent tide of opinions in favor of teachers and school coaches and against their students attempting to hold the teachers and coaches responsible for their failure to exercise ordinary care in the performance of their teaching and coaching duties.
Firm Delivers End Distracted Driving Presentations to Students Across Eastern Missouri
In early February, representatives from the firm joined forces with Jackie Gonz of the Jacquelyn S. Gonz Law Firm to present the ‘End Distracted Driving Student Awareness Program’ to 150 students at Bismarck High School in Bismarck, Missouri (about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis). Continuing the community outreach, in early March Matt Casey delivered the presentation to the sophomore class at St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis.
This interactive presentation is done free of charge and offers the sobering statistics of the current safety crisis, shares true stories of the costs of distracted driving, and offers simple steps that drivers can use immediately to help themselves and others around them End Distracted Driving.
Matt, Matt and Jackie are scheduled to deliver one more presentation this spring at Perryville High School in Perryville, Missouri.
EndDD.org (End Distracted Driving) was established to raise awareness and generate action against the epidemic of distracted driving. It was created by the parents of Casey Feldman, Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson, after the death of their daughter in 2009. Casey Feldman was just 21 years old when she was hit and killed by a distracted driver. Learn more about EndDD.org and preview the presentation at www.EndDD.org.
In December, Partner Matt Casey celebrated five years of service as a Richmond Heights City Council Member. The city recognized several council members and employees who were celebrating various service anniversaries.
Matt is currently serving his second term on the City Council and will be up for re-election in April 2018. Matt is thrilled to have the opportunity to serve on the council and to work with residents and the local business community on projects that will strengthen and grow the city for future generations.
Over the last few months, Matt and the City Council have approved several new retail and residential developments, including a $34 million mixed-use luxury apartment project on the site of a vacant church and school. While the project did face opposition from some residents, Matt and his fellow council members approved the project 8-1.
“Many neighbors were concerned about increased traffic and noise pollution,” said Casey. “But any new development will create more traffic and some noise. As a group we had to carefully weigh the concerns of our residents against replacing a depressed area of the city with a more vibrant retail and residential space. In the end, the majority of the City Council members felt the new development was the best path forward for the future of our city.”
The Casey family has a long history of service to the City of Richmond Heights. Matt’s father, Tom Casey, also served as a Council Member and worked as the city’s prosecuting attorney for many years.
FIRST QUARTER EXIT SURVEY
As part of our ongoing commitment to legendary customer service, each quarter we will conduct a past client exit survey.
If you are a past client and have not completed our exit survey, please consider taking our short 5 minute survey. As a token of our appreciation for completing the survey, we will enter all respondents into a quarterly drawing for a $25 Target gift card.
We will use this valuable feedback to help us better understand how clients find us, what they value in a personal injury attorney/firm, and how we can earn a client’s highest compliment — a referral.
Casey & Devoti Blog Digest
We are continually posting valuable safety and legal related articles to the Casey & Devoti website and social media pages. Click here to view our latest posts on Hoverboard Safety, Distracted Walking and more. To receive real-time updates, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.
Matt Casey and Matt Devoti also publish blogs on The Legal Examiner — a website that allows bloggers and readers to share their views and opinions on all things legal related. In the last month, Matt Devoti posted a piece on his recent jury service and Matt Casey posted a piece on mistakes to avoid after a car accident. Be sure to check it out.
Have you been hurt by the negligence of another?
Matt, Tom or Matt will be happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation. We are available to meet at our St. Louis County office, ‘by appointment’ in Ste. Genevieve, Mo. or at a location of your choice.
About our Firm
For over 30 years, Casey & Devoti has diligently protected the rights of its clients with honesty and integrity. Our lawyers are dedicated to providing individuals and small companies with first-class, professional and aggressive legal representation. Our lawyers have extensive trial experience representing clients in matters such as, automobile, train and truck accidents, medical and legal malpractice, product and premises liability, elder and sexual abuse, workers’ compensation and wrongful death. Casey & Devoti proudly serves the greater St. Louis metropolitan area, southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
Learn more about Casey & Devoti and our rich history of aggressively protecting clients’ rights on our website or through our various social media pages.
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