Lawsuit alleging archery targets knocked Hurricane High student's head into desk settled

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 19, 2013

WINFIELD - A lawsuit against the Putnam County Board of Education has been settled and dismissed.

On Sept. 23, a letter was filed in Putnam Circuit Court stating that mediation was held Aug. 14 and a settlement was reached.

James D. Lamp of Lamp Bartram Levy Trautwein & Perry PLLC was the mediator.

On Sept. 27, a dismissal order was filed in Putnam Circuit Court, dismissing the case with prejudice.

On Sept. 9, 2010, Hunter Fitzwater was a student at Hurricane High School and was seated at a desk located in the rear portion of his assigned classroom when a classmate was leaning on a stack of archery targets located near Fitzwater’s seat, according to a complaint filed Sept. 5, 2012, in Putnam Circuit Court.

The targets fell forward, striking Fitzwater in the head and forcing his head directly onto the top of his desk.

Jimmy Fitzwater and Lorie Fitzwater claimed as a result of the dual blows to Hunter Fitzwater’s head, he suffered an immediate loss of consciousness and, thereafter, an altered state of consciousness for an extended period of time.

The Board of Education owed Hunter Fitzwater a duty to warn him of the dangers and risks associated with the hazard posed and created by the Board when it chose to store, stack and/or maintain the archery targets in the classroom, according to the suit.

The Fitzwaters claimed the Board had a duty to supervise students in and/or around hazards or dangers existing in the classroom wherein the archery targets were stored, stacked and/or maintained.

The Board of Education breached, violated and otherwise failed to comply with its duties and was otherwise negligent by choosing to store, stack and/or maintain the archery targets in the manner in which they were, according to the suit.

The Fitzwaters claimed the defendant’s negligence caused Hunter Fitzwater to suffer a traumatic brain injury.

Hunter Fitzwater’s traumatic brain injury has caused him short-term and permanent and life altering cognitive and emotional deficits and residual effects, according to the suit.

The Fitzwaters claimed their son has also suffered great pain of body and mind; his future earning capacity has been greatly diminished; his learning and educational capabilities have been significantly impaired; and his enjoyment of life has been permanently impaired.

Jimmy Fitzwater and Lorie Fitzwater have suffered the loss of consortium of their son, according to the suit.

The Fitzwaters were seeking compensatory damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. They were represented by S. Douglas Adkins and John F. Cyrus of Cyrus & Adkins.

The defendant was represented by Duane J. Ruggier II of Pullin, Fowler, Flanagan, Brown & Poe PLLC.

The case was assigned to Circuit Judge J. Robert Leslie.

Putnam Circuit Court case number: 12-C-274

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