Judge dismisses former student’s suit against Timberlane teacher over eye injury

BRENTWOOD — A judge has thrown out a former student’s lawsuit against Timberlane Regional High School and one of its teachers that claimed the teenager’s eye was injured by a splinter after the teacher used a lacrosse stick to smash wooden airplanes during class.

Rockingham County Superior Court Judge David A. Anderson recently dismissed the case filed by 18-year-old Corey Rocco of Sandown.

Rocco sued the high school, teacher James Kelly, and School Administrative Unit 55 over the Dec. 12, 2014 incident when Rocco was a student in Kelly’s American Studies class.

According to the suit, Kelly had instructed students to make model airplanes from popsicle sticks and near the end of the class he took a lacrosse stick and began hitting the planes to test their durability.

Rocco alleged Kelly took no safety precautions and that a piece of wood from one of the planes hit his right eye.

Rocco claimed the accident caused him to suffer severe and permanent injuries to his eye that required surgery and resulted in medical bills.

The suit accused Kelly and the school of negligence but also claimed that the school and SAU 55 were liable because of negligent supervision.

Kelly and the school asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing they are entitled to immunity under RSA 507-B:4, which provides immunity to municipal employees if they act within the scope of employment and with good faith.

The judge’s order said Kelly “points out that there are no facts pled or arguments made suggesting that he acted in bad faith or outside the scope of his employment. After reviewing all pleadings and memoranda, the court agrees.”

Anderson noted that the lawsuit didn’t allege Kelly acted in bad faith and didn’t claim Kelly was “not within the scope of his employment when he allegedly decided to test the durability of the model airplanes by whacking them with a lacrosse stick.”


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