Published: Oct 19, 2011 02:00 AM
Modified: Oct 17, 2011 08:04 PM
Schools deny fault
Student's assault 'unforeseeable'
CHAPEL HILL - The injuries sustained by a former Phillips Middle School student were a result of his own negligence and the actions of another student, says Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.On Oct. 12, CHCCS responded to a lawsuit filed in June by Andrew and Lori Crihfield on behalf of their son, Ceiran."It is specifically denied that the minor Plaintiff was assaulted without provocation," states the district's response.Ceiran Crihfield, then 12, was in line for lunch at Phillips Middle School on May 7, 2009, when another student punched him in the face, grabbed him, threw him to the ground and kicked him.He was taken to UNC Hospitals, where he was diagnosed with a head injury, concussion, broken nose, bruised abdomen and bruised abdominal wall.The Crihfields are suing the school district, alleging that the district failed to supervise students' conduct and the Phillips premises.The City Schools' response denies the district failed to control the premises at the school and says that the events that led to Ceiran's injuries were unforeseeable.Ceiran Crihfield failed to notify school officials of a threat from another student, the district's response says, and contributed to the altercation by approaching and engaging the other student when he could have avoided the situation.The Crihfields' suit seeks $10,000 for pain and suffering, personal injury, lost wages and past and future medical expenses.According to the lawsuit, Ceiran Crihfield will need reconstructive surgery to repair his broken nose."We had hoped to resolve this matter without filing suit," said Kevin Butterfield, the Crihfields' lawyer."However, the insurance company providing coverage for the schools refused to negotiate with us, giving us no alternative but to bring the lawsuit."The school district responded the "[The Crihfields] failed to exercise reasonable diligence and ordinary care to minimize their damages."The case is scheduled to go to trial on March 26.