Osborn Machler: Snohomish High School Stabbing Victims Sue School District, Fairfax Hospital
Complaint alleges school officials and medical personnel were negligent
SEATTLE, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The families of two Snohomish High School freshmen who were stabbed by another student last October have filed a lawsuit against the Snohomish School District and Fairfax Hospital alleging that the district and the hospital failed to take steps to prevent the attack, according to attorney Sim Osborn.
On October 24, 2011, a female student attacked two other students, both 14 years old, in a bathroom at Snohomish High School. The assailant stabbed one with a kitchen knife more than a dozen times, according to the lawsuit.
That student nearly died from the attack. One wound came within a half inch of a crucial artery and her heart stopped three times on the way to the hospital, according to her doctors.
The attacker also stabbed a second student multiple times, resulting in severe wounds in her back and arm that required many stitches, according to the complaint.
"The victim's wounds were very serious, and the emotional scars of this brutal attack run even deeper," said Osborn, who is representing the families of the victims. "What's worse is that this was a preventable tragedy. Both the school and Fairfax Hospital fell asleep at the wheel when they allowed an unstable person, known to harbor violent impulses, to have free reign on campus. The defendants failed to act to protect students and the public."
The assailant was charged with first-degree attempted murder and second-degree assault and on March 7, 2012, she pled guilty to charges under an agreement in which she will serve a total of 13 years in incarceration.
The lawsuit, filed today in the Superior Court of Washington in King County, alleges that both the school district and Fairfax Hospital were negligent, failing to protect students despite obvious signs that the assailant was dangerous.
As early as April 2011 the assailant had told a school counselor that she was having violent fantasies involving injuring and killing people, according to medical and school records. The lawsuit states that she became obsessed with a female student and threatened to kill that girl's boyfriend, causing the district to expel her from school.
She was admitted to Fairfax Hospital in Kirkland, Wash., where mental health professionals monitored her behavior. She was released and allowed to return to school in early May, according to the complaint.
The lawsuit names as defendants the Snohomish School District, Fairfax Hospital, and the parents of the attacker.
"Threats like this must be taken seriously, especially when there are multiple threats over a period of time that form a clear pattern," said Osborn. "Instead, Fairfax released this girl after only one week of observation and the school allowed her to resume classes, decisions that paved the way for the horrific attacks."
The lawsuit follows the filing of an administrative claim. The case will now proceed toward discovery and then a jury trial.
About Osborn Machler
The attorneys at Osborn Machler represent plaintiffs in personal injury, products liability, and professional malpractice cases. Osborn Machler is noted for taking difficult cases and successfully taking them to settlement or trial. The firm has extensive experience representing injured persons against federal, state and local governments. You can learn more about the firm, its cases and expertise at www.osbornmachler.com.
Sim Osborn (206) 441-4110
Mark Firmani (206) 443-9357
Firmani + Associates Inc.
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