Timberlane wins negligence suit – Eagle

PLAISTOW — A lawsuit filed by a former Timberlane Regional High student claiming he sustained a permanent eye injury in class has been resolved in favor of the school district.

Corey Rocco, 18, of Sandown filed the civil lawsuit in Rockingham County Superior Court Jan. 30, 2016. The suit does not specify how much he sought in damages.

Rocco alleges that on Dec. 12, 2014, during an American Studies class taught by James Kelly, the class built model airplanes out of wooden Popsicle sticks. At the end of the class, Rocco claims the teacher stuck some of the planes with a lacrosse stick to test their durability.

Rocco said a splinter struck his right eye, causing “severe and painful permanent injuries to his eye, which required surgery.”

The lawsuit claims Kelly did not take any “safety precautions” and “there was no action that Corey should have taken to avoid this accident.”

A notice of decision dated May 3 states the the school, School Administrative Unit 55, and Kelly are not legally responsible for the mishap.

Associate Justice David Anderson noted that the district is entitled to immunity under an RSA that protects governmental units from such negligence claims. They would only be responsible if the injuries were linked to building maintenance, he wrote.

He added, “The court rejected the view that the term ‘premises’ incorporated activities that are conducted in the building. … Teaching is clearly the enterprise within the school building, and the Supreme Court has rejected claims that are tied to the enterprise rather than to the building itself.”

The school district did not comment on the decision. Rocco could not be reached.

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