District of Columbia v. Howell





District of Columbia v. Howell


The legal issue presented in this case was the suing of the District of Columbia as well as the American University by Dedrick Howell and his parents due to the injuries he sustained in Ben W. Murch School summer program for talented and gifted children. The injuries were from an explosion that occurred during a chemistry class when their summer teacher was demonstrating an experiment while using an explosive element.


Following a duration of ten days, the jury of the trial ruled that the District of Columbia was negligent


Several theories were presented to explain this occurrence. Firstly, there was failure and incompetence from, Greg Butta, the Director of the program. This is because there was no consideration for ordinary care. Owing to the fact that he is affiliated with the District of Columbia as an apparent agent then his mistake was attributed to it. Secondly, Mary Gill, the school’s principal was faulted for also failing to implement ordinary care in ensuring that the children’ safety and wellbeing is assured. Thirdly, the summer teacher, A. Louis Jagoe was held accountable for neglecting safety precautions when conducting the class. His affiliation with the District as an independent contractor meant that the District was attributable for this negligence as well. The rationale that justified the ruling was that the District permitted the presence of explosive materials within school and educative facilities as well as the manufacturing of fireworks by Jagoe and Butta, which was detrimental to the safety environment at the school.


For the suffering and pain endured by Dedrick from the injuries, the court awarded hi, eight million dollars. One million dollars were also awarded to Dedrick parents and for catering for future medical issues that might arise as concerns Dedrick. The parent child consortium was also considered hence each parent was also gives an additional one million dollars.