A Chicago man injured on a mini-trampoline when he was an eighth-grade student at a South Side elementary school 18 years ago has finally settled his lawsuit against the Chicago Board of Education and a private youth center for almost $14.7 million. Ryan Murray, who was 13 at the time, was injured in a tumbling class at the school in 1992. Murray, who is now 30 years old, became a quadriplegic after he hit his head as he did a flip off a mini-trampoline onto a mat in the school’s gymnasium.
The class was an extracurricular activity held during lunch period. A mini-trampoline owned by the Chicago Public Schools was being used and the event was supervised by an employee of the Chicago Youth Centers, a private group. The suit has been hanging around in the courts for years. In July 2006, it was dismissed by the Illinois Supreme Court, which found that Murray did not have the right to sue the Board of Education because it is a government entity. The Court ruled the action that led to his injury had to be intentional to allow for an exception to the law against suing government bodies. The lower court heard the case again. It was contended that school officials and others had conducted the class recklessly, without proper equipment and had ignored basic safety rules. The case was appealed again to the Supreme Court.
In 2007, the Supreme Court reversed itself in a 7-0 decision, noting that if a government body shows “an utter indifference or conscious disregard for the safety of others,” it can be sued for willful and wanton conduct. The case was again sent back to Cook County Circuit Court for a trial. The case was then settled.
Source: Chicago Tribune
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