Injury May Cost School District $15 Million

Eight year old Nicholas Kitzul, a grade three student has been left totally disabled and unable to communicate following a near strangulation at Bearspaw School, Calgary. The family’s lawyer, Edward Pipella of Pipella Law, has described the incident as “tragic” and “catastrophic.” Pipella went on to say that, “based on the facts. . . his condition could have been prevented.” According to the claim, “Nicholas suffered a severe anoxic brain injury when his lanyard became caught and was hospitalized for 132 days.” The boys parents have initiated legal action against the school district and are seeking damages of more than $15 million.

The Rocky View Schools division, the Alberta Teachers’ Association, Morgex Insurance, Bearspaw School’s principal, and Nicholas’ grade three teacher have all be named in the lawsuit.

The plaintiff’s claims have not yet been proven in court. Still, there has been a province wide ban on the lanyards previously used to attached hallway and washroom passes since the incident took place in December 2012.

The damages sought by parents, Grant and Kamila Kitzul, are intended to alleviate the loss of income the family will suffer in order to care for their son, and to provide for their son who is now dependent on caregivers indefinitely. Their son Nicholas is no longer the boy of able body and mind that he once was. He now requires a wheelchair, diapers, and is fed through a tube. He has significant memory loss and is in need of extensive speech and occupational therapy.

As documented in the statement of claim, Nicholas “signed out of his classroom shortly before noon to use a nearby washroom, wearing a ‘non-breakaway’ lanyard given to him by the school.” He was later found, “hanging by his lanyard, which had become caught on the bathroom door” by another student. Nicholas was taken immediately to the Alberta Children’s Hospital and placed in intensive care.

Despite these efforts by the staff at the Bearspaw School, the lawsuit argues the school division “failed to provide an adequate emergency response or offer up-to-date first aid training to staff.” One critical detail in the lawsuit is that the school failed to provide students with the safer ‘breakaway’ lanyards, which come apart when pulled.

Pipella told reporters: “Most of all they need financial help. We don’t know what his condition will be in the long term.” He added, “It’s horrible for his parents. Can you imagine? He [Nicholas] goes to school and they take him to the Children’s Hospital on a stretcher.”

Accidents like what happened to Nicholas are preventable and there is no excuse for your loved ones to suffer needless and without just compensation. If you, or someone you know, has suffered personal injuries due to the negligence of others, please seek the help you deserve. Contact Pipella Law in Calgary today.