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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Student Gets Nearly $42M in Tick Bite Lawsuit



    Former Prep School Student Gets Nearly $42M in Tick Bite Case

    BRIDGEPORT -- A summer study program in China for a former student of The Hotchkiss School, an exclusive prep school in Litchfield County, changed a young woman's life forever, but for the worst.

    Never again will Cara Munn, now 20, speak another word or be able to process information as quickly as she did before contracting encephalitis after a June 24, 2007, tick bite on a school hiking trip near Mount Panshan.

    "She is a very highly intelligent woman," said her attorney, Antonio Ponvert of Bridgeport's Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder law firm. "She's not able to speak an intelligible word. She will never be able to speak again."

    At 1:30 p.m. Wednesday -- after about eight hours of deliberations -- the jury of six women and two men awarded Munn and her parents $41.7 million in damages against the exclusive 122-year old Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, where annual tuition ranges from $39,750 to $46,775, according to the Hotchkiss website.

    The award included $31 million for emotional and psychological suffering, $7.2 million for future medical care and rehabilitative treatment, $2.5 million for lost earnings and $450,000 for past medical expenses.

    Ponvert said he, Munn and her parents "were very, very appreciative" of the jury's attention during the eight-day trial before U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill. Ponvert added that his client communicates by typing about 10 words a minute.

    "She has managed to do her best under very extraordinary circumstances," said Ponvert, who tried the case with help from Linda Grossberg, a legal assistant.

    In his lawsuit, Ponvert charged Hotchkiss with negligence by failing to warn students and parents they could be subjected to insect-transmitted diseases in China, failing to ensure students took insect bite precautions before and during the trip, failing to include medical personnel on the trip, and failing to make advance arrangements to return any injured or ill students to the United States.

    Lawyers for the school argued in court papers that such illnesses are so rare that they could not have foreseen a risk or be expected to issue advance warnings.

    Munn, just 15 at the time, arrived with classmates in China on June 11, 2007. Ponvert said she was bitten on the hiking trip and began experiencing "a shattering headache ... high fever" and later, mental confusion and seizures.

    The girl's parents arranged for the medical evacuation of their daughter.

    Once back home, Munn spent two weeks at New York Presbyterian Hospital and another six weeks at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine in New York.

    Munn was taken to a rural medical clinic that initially diagnosed her problems as cardiac-related, according to Ponvert. She was then transferred to the Beijing United Medical Center, where she spent several weeks.

    "The medical records in this case were a foot tall," Ponvert said.

    Hotchkiss School spokeswoman Roberta Jenckes issued a written statement Wednesday on behalf of the school.

    "We care deeply about all our students. We make every effort to protect them, whether they are here or participating in a school-sponsored activity off-campus," she wrote. "We put great care and thought into planning and administering off-campus programs, and we extend the same care to students on these trips as to students on campus.

    "Historically, our students have undertaken study, service projects, and travel in the United States and throughout the world and have derived great benefit from these opportunities," Jenckes added. "We remain very saddened by this student's illness. We continue to hope for improvements to her health. While we will not comment on specific elements of the case, we plan to appeal this verdict."
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 06:40 PM
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    Our society is now at the point where our first thought after gettin bit by a bug is..."Who the fuck can I sue for this?!?!?"



    *puts barrel in mouth*
    Last edited by MF5150; 03.28.13 at 09:12 AM.
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  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    12.04.17 @ 04:15 PM
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    Just a very sad case, from whatever angle you examine it.

    Sad for the student, whose life is irreparably damaged; sad for the school who will undoubtedly struggle to pay those sort of damages without having to make drastic cut-backs; sad for other pupils, as I doubt very much that such off-campus excursions will take place again - the risks, whilst negligible, will have proven to be far too costly.

    Whilst the school could well have made more provisions for such an eventuality, it is terribly difficult to micro-manage every single possible occurrence...And that's the trouble with life - it's unpredictable and inherently risky!
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  4. #4
    Atomic Punk MF5150's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 06:40 PM
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    I feel bad for her, her mom and dad and the fact that their daughter will never be the same but...this is going to sound extremely insensitive....shit happens. If it was my daughter or if I had kids maybe I'd think differently.

    How can the school be responsible for what happens on a hiking trip? So if she got mauled by a bear whilst on the hike, would they have any legal recourse for that? Could they sue because the school took them on a dangerous hike in a forest where bears might live? Please.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk
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    12.04.17 @ 04:15 PM
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    I think it was more to do with the fact that the school had made NO medical provision whatsoever that might have been a big factor in finding them guilty of lack of care.

    I taught at a private school for 8 years - and taking kids on a trips was a logistical nightmare as you had to do detailed risk assessments for every single outing, no matter how small or insignificant. I was a little surprised to read, therefore, that the school hadn't issued preliminary health guidance - or, as I said, thought ahead as to how they might deal with any medical issues / emergencies.

    However, having said all of that and as I mentioned before, it's impossible to take every possible eventuality into account - which is why this verdict is so depressing for the school and its pupils.
    I'm FEMALE...Deal with it!

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  6. #6
    Gird your loins Daisy Hill's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 08:47 PM
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    I got the runs in Mexico.



    I'd like a check, but I'd settle for a gift certificate for Hanes for Her

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  7. #7
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    12.13.17 @ 09:31 PM
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    So let's say she had gotten bitten by a tick on the fucking school playground, is that worth $42 million too?

    I feel the family, I really do, but c'mon, this is ludicrous. There are billions, hell, trillions of bugs in the world, should someone really be liable because someone got bitten by one?
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk
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    12.11.17 @ 04:37 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by dibblekins View Post
    I think it was more to do with the fact that the school had made NO medical provision whatsoever that might have been a big factor in finding them guilty of lack of care.
    no medical provision for what? a bug bite?

    come on now...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

 

 

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