BOSSIER PARISH, LA (KSLA) - An ArkLaTex family and the Bossier Parish School District faced each other in court again Thursday morning in the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.
Daisy and Jeff Brammer initially thought their lawsuit against the BPSB was over when a jury sided with them in 2014. The Brammers sued the school board and a teacher for negligence after their son broke his arm during what they call an attack on the Carrie Martin Elementary School playground in 2012 when their son was 10-years-old.
"It's changed everything," said Daisy Brammer of the incident. "We'll never know the kind of kid he would have been had this not happened to him, because things like this change your personality," she said.
According to the Brammers, before the attack, the then 10-year-old, told a teacher the students were messing with him but claim the teacher did nothing.
"Their stance is, 'wasn't our fault,'" said Daisy Brammer.
In September 2014, a jury ordered the BPSB to pay the Brammer family $162,674.13 in damages and losses plus $4,110.50 in costs, totaling the amount owed to $166,784.63. The amount is something the Brammers explained they never asked for.
"When a judge came back with that number we were floored," Daisy Brammer said. "One thing people forget is we never asked for a dollar figure, my attorneys never looked at that jury and said award this family 'x' amount of dollars."
Thursday morning, the school district's attorney, Roland McKneely argued in appeals court, that reward amount is "abusively high" and the jury made the wrong decision in ruling in the Brammers favor. He wants the verdict thrown out.
"The Court minutes show that the Jury exited the courtroom at 4:38 p.m. and returned at 5:15 p.m. The jury did not request any evidence and did not have time to review any evidence," McKneely stated in the appeal document.
McKneely goes on to argue had the jury considered the actual evidence and followed the law, it could not have returned a verdict against the Bossier Parish School Board and/or the teacher involved.
"A school board is only responsible for reasonable supervision. This duty does not extend to constant supervision, which would require at least two adult supervisors for each student. Hindsight cannot be a factor in determining whether or not there was reasonable supervision," McKneely argued in the appeal brief.
In court, McKneely cited several precedent cases that indicated that a school board is not the insurer of the safety of its students.
"To levy liability, as sought by the plaintiff, would effectively place the teacher in the same position, vis-a-vis the student, as a parent occupies toward his child," the McKneely's brief stated.
The brief goes on to say for educators, an imposition of liability without fault, would further handicap present-day school systems by diverting their attention from being centers of learning. McKneely also argues comparative fault should be applied, meaning Brammer's son and his alleged attackers should be faulted for what happened.
But the Brammers' attorney argued the jury's decision is reasonable.
"I have all the confidence in our team and the justice system," said Jeff Brammer.
McKneely also argued it was never proven in court that the Brammers are the biological parents of their son and did not have the right to file a suit on his behalf. The claim stunned the Brammers.
"I'm speechless truly speechless," said Daisy Brammer.
"It seems like it has been taken to a personal level," Jeff Brammer said of the claim.
McKneely told the appeal judges he filed the motion because the Brammers signed over their guardianship to someone else so their son could transfer schools after what happened.
"We did what we had to do, like what was said in court today and what was said in court a year and a half ago, we'd do it again, I'll do whatever it takes to protect my children," said Jeff Brammer.
The Brammers say filing a lawsuit was a last resort, after first attempting to work with school leaders.
"We asked for something to be fixed then, we didn't ask for this," said Jeff Brammer.
At the end of the day, they say it's not about the money, it's about bringing awareness to how the district handled their son's situation.
"I feel like the school board has put us through this, it's unbelievable, you cannot change behavior you won't acknowledge," said Daisy Brammer. "They will not acknowledge they made a mistake in any way, as long as they are digging their heels in and saying 'I didn't do it and it wasn't my fault,' then there won't be any changes made."
Roland McKneely maintains they will not be making further public statements concerning the case while it is pending.
The judges may file their opinion about the appeal within the next couple of months.