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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

City May Be Liable in Disabled Boy’s Death

(CN) - The family of a disabled boy who died on his way to the emergency room from school should not have had its wrongful death lawsuit dismissed, the Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled.

Tadarius Moore, 9, suffered from spinal muscular atrophy. He could not walk or hold his head up on his own, and he often suffered from pneumonia due to the buildup of phlegm in his lungs.

In April 2005, Moore experienced breathing difficulties at Amqui Elementary School, where he was a fourth-grade student, and school employees cared for him before calling 911. Moore died en route to the emergency room, and there was vomit on his shirt when his grandparents viewed his body at the hospital.

Moore's grandparents and guardians, Helen and Gerald Lilly, sued the Nashville government and Davidson County for improperly training and supervising its employees and for failing to secure proper medical care.

Davidson County Circuit Court ruled in the defendants' favor via summary judgment, but the appellate court in Nashville overturned the decision and sent the case to trial.

"Having reviewed the inconsistent and conflicting testimony of witnesses who assisted or attended to Tadarius prior to the paramedics arriving, we have determined a factual dispute exists concerning a material fact, whether it was reasonable or necessary for defendant's employees to perform CPR - which required Tadarius to be placed on his back - prior to the arrival of the paramedics," Judge Frank Clement Jr. wrote for the court.

"This disputed fact directly pertains to the two elements the trial court found defendant negated, whether defendant breached a duty of care and, if so, whether this breach of duty contributed to the cause of death," Clement added. "We, therefore, conclude that summary judgment is not appropriate based upon the facts in this record."

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