West Virginia Record

Monday, July 15, 2019

Former basketball star sues school board for son's injuries

By Chris Dickerson | Jun 16, 2014

CHARLESTON - A former University of Charleston basketball star is suing the Kanawha County Board of Education after he claims it is responsible for an accident that caused his disabled child to suffer injuries.

On April 4, Ajamu Gaines Jr., who is confined to a wheelchair, was injured when the school bus he was a passenger on, was operated in a manner that caused his wheelchair to flip, according to a complaint filed April 30 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Ajamu Gaines Sr. claims the defendant negligently and/or recklessly failed to maintain the school bus and/or, acting through its employees, negligently and/or recklessly operated the school bus and failed to supervise and secure his son's wheelchair in the bus.

As a result of the defendant's wrongful conduct, Ajamu Gaines Jr.'s wheelchair flipped, causing his head and face to strike the floor of the bus and causing him to suffer permanent scarring lacerations, according to the suit.

Ajamu Gaines Sr. claims as a consequence, his son has incurred medical expenses; sustained permanent disfigurement; and endured physical and emotional pain and suffering.

The defendant's actions also caused Ajamu Gaines Jr. to suffer a loss of enjoyment of life, according to the suit.

Ajamu Gaines Sr. is seeking compensatory damages.

He is being represented by Stuart Calwell and David H. Carriger of the Calwell Practice LC. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

In 2011, a North Carolina jury awarded Gaines and his son $26.8 million after a hospital's staff failed to recognize his son had been abused.

The lawsuit, filed against Cape Fear Valley Medical Center, alleged that staff failed to take action in 2003 when Ajamu Gaines Jr., who was then 6, was taken to the hospital with injuries that showed he was abused.

According to the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, the boy was taken to the hospital with two broken bones in his arm. He lived with his mother and her boyfriend at the time.

The hospital later sent him back to his mothers' home, where he later suffered a massive head and brain injury.

Gaines received $20 million. His father, Ajamu Gaines Sr., received $4.8 million. According to the Observer, the boy, couldn't control his body or talk and requires constant care.

Ajamu Gaines Sr. was a Division II All-American and the West Virginia Conference Player of the Year in 2000 while a basketball player at UC.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-815

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