$400K sought in school bus claim

BAR HARBOR — A parent of a Conners-Emerson School student has filed a notice of claim seeking $400,000 in damages for an accident involving his daughter at the school in September 2015.

Carl Locaby of Waldoboro filed the notice in a Knox County court on July 18. Locaby is represented by attorney Alan Harris of the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein.

The notice names the town of Bar Harbor, the Mount Desert Island Regional School System, the Conners-Emerson School, a “Jane Doe” bus driver and the operators of the school bus, John T. Cyr and Sons, as parties in the claim.

According to the notice, the student, who was born in May 2002, was injured during a school bus safety drill that took place on or about Sept. 21 of last year. The bus driver announced there would be an evacuation drill and allegedly told students they had two minutes to get off the bus. Students at the back of the bus, including Locaby’s daughter, opened the rear door and jumped to the ground. The daughter fell, landing on her right knee, sustaining injuries that required treatment at Mount Desert Island Hospital, Harris claims.

The notice alleges that the girl sustained a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and damage to her right medial meniscus. She underwent surgery to repair the ligament tears on May 25, 2016.

According to the notice, the girl’s doctor is of the opinion she likely will have “permanent loss of some strength and stability of her right knee.” She also “suffered from emotional upset as a result of the trauma of this accident and her physical pain.”

The bus driver was negligent in several ways, the notice alleges. The driver failed to follow safety rules for evacuation drills, failed in instructing students in how to act during these drills, failed to assist students in exiting the bus and failed to supervise the students during the drill, the document states.

A claims representative with the Maine Municipal Association Property and Casualty Pool, which provides liability coverage for Bar Harbor, has responded to the notice, writing that the town is a separate entity from the school, the school system and school bus contractor and therefore is not responsible for any negligence involving those parties.

In addition, the claims representative, Randa Veilleux, points out that under state law, a governmental entity must be provided with a notice of claim “within 180 days after any claim or cause of action accrues.” The notice of claim was filed past that deadline, she wrote.

Marc Gousse, superintendent of the regional school system, said the system’s insurance carrier has been notified of the claim and will respond.


Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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