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"Teacher sues parent over handshake" (2001)

I am the teacher in your post of Mar. 26, 2001. The injury occurred November 20, 2000. Five years later, I have had 7 (yes, seven) surgeries. Each surgery resulted in a loss of 3 weeks of teaching. Over the years, I have suffered from the irresponsible choice an angry parent made over her son's grades. My students were affected as a result of multiple and lengthy absences. I continue to take medication for inflammation and pain. I have ugly scars on my forearm, wrist, and palm. Did I receive the $250,000 originally asked for in the claim? Not even 10%. How's that for justice? My lawsuit was never superfluous, nor was it irresponsible. I resent my name and litigation information being present on your site. Please remove it. It does not belong there. You have not done your homework. -- Traci England

Our original one-paragraph item, based closely on (and mostly quoting) the Salt Lake Tribune's coverage, was in no way inaccurate and in fact prominently mentioned the aspects of the story that put Ms. England's claim in the most sympathetic light. We appreciate the update informing us that the claim won only a small fraction of what Ms. England's lawyer originally demanded for it, although it is far from clear why that should make our posting of the paragraph look like a mistake in retrospect. To clear up two other possible misconceptions: 1) even a short browse through this site should be enough to see that the description of a case here does not invariably mean that we regard it as "superfluous" or "irresponsible", and 2) because our legal system does not provide for secret lawsuits, when one files a public legal action one is apt to find one's name and "litigation information" reported on by both newspapers and websites. That's just the way things work. -- W.O.


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» Batch of reader letters from Overlawyered
After too long a hiatus, we've resumed our separate letters to the editor feature. Among topics this time: a teacher writes to protest our 2001 coverage of her lawsuit over a parent's injurious handshake; reflections... [Read More]


"Did I receive the $250,000 originally asked for in the claim? Not even 10%. How's that for justice?"

Actually, I think the point of this wewbsite (in a vry general kind of way) is that IS justice (or at least in the ballpark), and your original demand was entirely outrageous.

Oh, and if it was really such an injury, you should probably have gotten the police involved, as that would be assault. Probably would have bolstered your legal case, too.

None of this is to say that you weren't wronged, only that the legal system (and the lawyers that run it) is reaelly messed up.

I would assume that the parent was wealthy... at least wealthy enough to fork over $250K. Here is my question, what if the parent had been poor? Would you still have filed the lawsuit? Why did you not sue the school system for which you work? Surely they had much deeper pockets than the parent. I am guessing that the parnt was a doctor or some other high-income profession. Does it EVER happen these days that someone is injured and doesn't try to find someone to sue?

As a professional educator myself, although I do not know the details of this story, I can safely say that parents DO get very disrespectful with teachers. I have learned that the world seems to feel that "the teacher is ALWAYS wrong". Why they continue to let us nasty ogres out daily is beyond me! Traci, face it, we have been and always will be the bad guys with no rights to protect ourselves in any manner! Wonder what would happen if we all had enough and just handed it over to the parents and the people degrading us? Can you say, "third world country"? Right or wrong, Traci had a right to ask for compensation if she was attacked and the fact that she is a teacher should not prevent that right!