Court rules against student punched in the face after sexual comments

By John O'Brien | Oct 1, 2013

CHARLESTON – The state Supreme Court has ruled against a student who made sexually explicit remarks about a female, was punched in the face by her brother and sued the technical program he was attending at the time.

On Sept. 27, the court affirmed a Grant County jury’s decision in favor of South Branch Career and Technical Center, which was sued by Jamal Redman after a 2009 incident, in a unanimous memorandum decision.

Redman was a 17-year-old high school student when he was punched by Roger Redman over comments he made about his sister.

According to the opinion, when the teacher was not present, Jamal Redman asked Dale Alt if he was “getting any [explitive]” from Roger Redman’s sister.

Four students testified that Roger Redman twice warned Jamal Redman to stop talking about his sister.

“At that point, after two warnings, Roger Redman struck petitioner in the face,” the opinion says.

The teacher was not present because he was locking up an area that contained vending machines called the “Snack Shack.”

Jamal Redman sued South Branch Career and Technical Center, which claimed it could not have reasonably anticipated the altercation.

Keyser attorney Harley O. Staggers, Jr. represented Jamal Redman. He is a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jamal Redman’s appeal alleged five errors, three of which were addressed by the decision. They concerned jury instructions, the exclusion of evidence that showed Roger Redman broke a window at Moorefield High School prior to the incident and the sanction of Staggers as a result of his behavior surrounding the deposition of a doctor.

“In this case, Roger Redman was seventeen and petitioner nearly seventeen,” the decision says.

“Petitioner’s provocation of Roger Redman was neither childish nor impulsive. It was sexually vulgar and intended to incite Roger Redman. Accordingly, we agree with the circuit court’s analysis and do not find the striking of petitioner’s proposed language to be reversible error under the fact of this case.”

The court did not address the sanction issue because it beared no impact on the denial of Jamal Redman’s motion for a new trial.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O'Brien at

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