On Thursday, November 1, 2018, MFM lawyers Nick Szokoly and Jessica Meeder prevailed in an appeal on behalf of their Clients in the United States Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The panel reversed the lower court’s dismissal of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of the victims of a deadly school bus crash in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The complaint alleged that long before the crash, the Hamilton County School District had actual knowledge that the bus driver was slamming the brakes and swerving the school bus intentionally to hurt the elementary school children on the bus for what he perceived as disobedience.
The complaint alleged that the heart wrenching and handwritten complaints of the students describing how the bus driver was “hurting us” were submitted to the district and ignored weeks before the crash.
Six children were killed on the way home to begin Thanksgiving vacation. The survivors of the crash were so young that many couldn’t tell the first responders their address or home telephone numbers while they were triaged in the front yard of adjoining homes to the crash site and while still struggling to cope with seeing their classmates and siblings killed and maimed in the accident.
The horror of this case was partially captured by the Court’s opinion that “although there are doubtlessly some cases in which a court could determine that a state actor’s actions did not shock the conscience at the motions-to-dismiss stage, this is not that case.”
MFM remains committed to holding accountable those who are responsible for this preventable tragedy.