TUSD hit with $23 million claim over child's head injury

2014-01-11T00:00:00Z 2014-07-17T14:27:36Z TUSD hit with $23 million claim over child's head injuryBy Alexis Huicochea Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

A mother has filed a claim seeking $23 million from the Tucson Unified School District after her son fell from a slide at Fruchthendler Elementary and suffered a brain injury.

While the extent of the injury is unknown at this time, the mother says TUSD was negligent in maintaining the playground equipment, in supervising students on the playground, in caring for the boy after the incident and in failing to obtain professional care.

An administrative claim was sent to the Tucson Unified School District on behalf of Danette and Trevor Pahl regarding the Aug. 8 incident.

According to the claim, which is frequently a precursor to a lawsuit, the then-9-year-old Trevor fell about 5 feet from the slide, striking the left side of his head, his arm and wrist on a piece of cement embedded in the play area during afternoon recess.

Rather than seek medical attention, the school called Danette Pahl, who then took her son to a hospital, where it was discovered that the fourth-grader had suffered a broken wrist and a life-threatening injury to his head and brain, attorney Ron Mercaldo said.

While Trevor went back to school three weeks later with special provisions, he has received hundreds of hours of treatment and therapy, which will continue indefinitely. It is believed his brain injury carries the likelihood of permanent functional deficits, the claim states.

It goes on to claim that Danette Pahl has suffered a loss of consortium with Trevor, has incurred medical expenses for her son’s care, and suffered a disruption of her family and professional life. It also says Trevor’s older brother was traumatized by the injuries Trevor suffered and the changes in Trevor and the family’s day-to-day activities.

“It’s really emotional when you watch your son almost die,” Pahl told the Arizona Daily Star on Thursday.

Of the amount being requested, $20 million would go to the boy and $3 million would be designated for the mother.

The Tucson Unified School District has 60 days to respond to the notice. The claim was referred to outside counsel for review, TUSD spokeswoman Cara Rene said. TUSD would not comment further.

Contact reporter Alexis Huicochea at ahuicochea@azstarnet.com or 573-4175. On Twitter @AlexisHuicochea

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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