District, family reach tentative settlement in suit stemming from 2007 injury

Friday March 15, 2013


Staff Writer

BENNINGTON -- A lawsuit against the Bennington School District filed in 2011 on behalf of a student who in 2007 suffered a head injury from a falling table has largely been settled, according to attorneys.

The suit, filed by Amy Barber Thomas and Gary H. Thomas, the parents of Spencer Thomas who was 10 at the time of the incident, alleged that the boy was helping a custodian at the Monument Elementary School move cafeteria tables on Jan. 8, 2007 when one of the tables rolled from the custodian’s control and fell onto Spencer Thomas’ head. The table stood six feet high, according to the complaint filed by Manchester attorney Robert Woolmington, of Witten, Woolmington & Campbell.

The complaint accused the district of negligence and claimed Thomas suffered depression, anxiety, and neuropsychological impairments including loss of taste, sensitivity to bright lights and noise, chronic headaches, and an impaired ability to learn. This caused Thomas to not be able to attend school normally, incurred medical expenses on the family, and Barber Thomas had to stop working to care for her son, according to the complaint.

According to a document filed in Bennington Superior Court Civil Division two meetings were held between the various parties on Feb. 27, 2013 and March 4, 2013 in an attempt to reach a resolution, which they did.

"It’s been resolved," said Woolmington in an interview Thursday. "I don’t think there’s been assigning of fault, it’s just that the case has been resolved." He said the terms of the agreement reached would not be filed with the court.

Burlington attorney Pietro Lynn, of Lynn, Lynn & Blackman, said the agreement will not be official until the court can appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) for Spencer Thomas. He said according to Vermont law a GAL must be appointed to any settlement to a minor worth over $1,500 whether they have a valid guardian or not. He said he could not talk about the agreement at least until it was made final and confirmed it would not be filed with the court.

He said any payment would be made between the district’s insurance company, Trident Insurance, and the Thomas family.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr


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