Monthly Archives: December 2014

High School Did Not Violate Constitution by Suspending Student for Texting Violent Feelings to Friend

In Bradford v. Norwich City School District, 3:12-cv-1888, the defendant school suspended a student for 5 days, for sending texts  to a friend while in their respective living rooms expressed the desire to harm (slapping, kneeing, kicking) a female student.  The Northern District Judge, Glenn Suddaby held that the school neither violated the student’s First Amendment rights nor his Parents Fourteenth Amendment rights to raise their child as they saw fit.

The female discovered the texts on the friend’s phone while in school causing her to become emotional which lead to a teacher being shown the texts.

Judge Suddaby held that the suspension was constitutional as a reasonable act to protect the school had the student harmed the female student.  The decision notes that the rights of students are “not coextensive with the rights of adults in other settings.”  Schools have the right to prohibit expression that will “materially and substantially disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”  Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503 (1969).

The legal issue here centered on whether these texts could reasonably be seen to disrupt the work and discipline of the school.”  Both parents and the student’s lawyer characterized the texts as typical “drama that goes on among teenagers in high schools throughout the country” and disputed that this is the type of expression which could “disrupt work and discipline of the school.”  The student’s parents are naturally concerned the incident will harm the student’s prospect of getting into college and sought to have the court expunge the incident from his record.  They intend to appeal.

Regardless of the outcome of this decision, it seems clear that the parents here are correct in at least one thing.  This type of speech is likely ubiquitous among teenage boys.  The decision and the reaction of the school would appear to put a large population of teenagers at grave risk for committing a life altering blunder far in advance of their developing the maturity to appreciate the potential consequences of sending a private text message to a friend.

G&S Obtains Defense Verdict in Tough Eye Case Involving Multiple Surgeries

The Plaintiff had undergone cataract surgery performed by our client.  One day after the surgery, as well as a week after surgery, plaintiff was evaluated by our client with very poor visual acuity (ability to only “count fingers” at 2 feet). On the third post-operative visit, our client determined that the intra-ocular lens (the artificial lens that he inserted as a replacement for the human lens which has developed a cataract) had dislocated.  As a result, the plaintiff had to undergo a series of surgeries to correct this situation, which allegedly caused him to have serious problems with depth perception, glare and blurry vision.

The claim of malpractice essentially was that the intra-ocular lens had dislocated right after the surgery, which was demonstrated by the extremely poor visual acuity one the first and second visits and that our client had failed to diagnose it in a timely fashion. The plaintiff’s experts testified that had our client dilated the eye and seen him more frequently, he would have diagnosed the dislocation earlier, which would have caused the corrective surgery to be done earlier, avoiding the necessity of additional surgeries and prevented the development of his problems with depth perception, blurriness and glare.

We were able to defeat the claim by presenting evidence and expert testimony which established that despite the initial poor visual acuity at the time of the first two post-operative visits, our client had correctly ascertained that the intra-ocular lens was in the correct location through both his own examination and the use of a device called the auto-refractor. We also proved that as soon as there was actual evidence that the lens had dislocated, our client made the correct referral, and that despite the claims of impaired vision, the plaintiff had made a good recovery after the corrective surgery, with vision which enabled him to fully participate in his daily activities.