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James Mareci and Lori Mareci For v. Coeur D'alene School District

April 20, 2011

JAMES MARECI AND LORI MARECI FOR AND ON THEIR OWN BEHALF AND ON BEHALF OF THEIR COEUR D'ALENE, MINOR SON, TRISTEN MARECI, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
COEUR D'ALENE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 271, ITS AGENTS AND EMPLOYEES, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS, AND SCOTT KAMARA AND STEVIE KAMARA AND QUINTON KAMARA, THEIR MINOR SON, DEFENDANTS.



Appeal from the District Court of the First Judicial District of the State of Idaho, in and for Kootenai County. The Hon. Benjamin Simpson, District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eismann, Chief Justice.

2011 Opinion No. 49

Stephen W. Kenyon, Clerk

The judgment of the district court is affirmed.

This is an appeal from a judgment dismissing a claim seeking to recover damages against the school district for injuries inflicted upon a student by another student. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the school district because there was insufficient evidence to establish liability under Idaho Code § 6-904C(2). We affirm.

I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At about 12:30 p.m. on September 15, 2006, sixth-grader Tristen Mareci walked into the office of the Canfield Middle School where he contacted Janice McIntosh, the secretary. Tristen was accompanied by Quinton Kamara, a classmate. Tristen told Ms. McIntosh that he had bumped his head, and she sent Quinton for a bag of ice. She noticed that Tristen was neither bleeding nor vomiting. When Quinton returned with the ice, she gave it to Tristen to put on his head, and Quinton left for class. Once Quinton was gone, Tristen told Ms. McIntosh that when he and Quinton were outside on a grassy field, Quinton "ran and he came up at full speed and he pushed me backwards, and I hit the ground and hit my head on the - hit my head on the ground." Ms. McIntosh left Tristen in the sick room with the ice on his head.

About twenty minutes later, Sarah McLain, a school counselor, walked into the sick room with another student in order to resolve some issue involving that student and Tristen. After she had talked with him a while about the issue involving the other student, Tristen told her that right now was not the best time to discuss it. He then told her that "Quinton had pushed me - had ran around, came up and pushed me backwards, I cracked my head on the ground, and that I was seeing blurry and everything was doubled and I felt sick to my stomach."*fn1 Ms. McLain left with the other student, leaving Tristen in the sick room. Ms. McIntosh then sent Tristen back to class.

When school was out, Tristen and Quinton boarded the same bus to ride home. Quinton was sitting in front of Tristen. Before the bus began to move, Quinton knelt on his seat and turned rearward facing Tristen. Fearing that Quinton may try to hit him, Tristen took his keys and hit Quinton on the head. Quinton responded by swinging his backpack of books, hitting Tristen in the head. At that point, Tristen's symptoms worsened and he began crying. Nothing further happened between the two boys. Since then, Tristen has suffered from daily headaches.

Canfield Middle School is one of the schools in Coeur d'Alene School District No. 271 (School District), and both Janice McIntosh and Sarah McLain were employees of the School District. On July 28, 2008, James and Lorie Mareci, Tristen's parents, filed this action to recover damages for both themselves and Tristen from the School District, from Quinton, and from his parents Scott and Stevie Kamara. The personal claims that James and Lorie Mareci may have had against the School District were dismissed because they had not given timely notice of their tort claim. On the School District's motion for summary judgment, Tristen's claims against it were also dismissed. The district court entered a final partial judgment in favor of the School District, and Plaintiffs appealed.

II. ISSUES

A. Did the district court err in holding that Plaintiffs' claims were barred by Idaho Code § 6- 904A(2)?

B. Is the School District entitled to an award of attorney fees under Idaho ...


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