A Dartmouth student recently agreed to a settlement with the school, ending a lawsuit he filed after he was seriously injured during a baseball practice.
Dartmouth College recently agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by a former student last year. The suit was filed shortly after the student, Colton French, was seriously injured during a baseball practice. How did the injury happen, though? Who was to blame, according to the suit?
For starters, the incident happened back in February 2016 when French was “pitching to a batter in a narrow indoor area enclosed by netting.” According to the lawsuit, it was his “first time using a tall, L-shaped screen designed to protect the pitcher with a cut-out section to allow the ball to be thrown.” Unfortunately for French, he failed to stay behind the metal screen after one of his pitches and was hit in the face when a batter hit one of his pitches back at him. As a result, many of French’s facial bones were broken and his right eye socket was crushed.
To this day he still has no vision in his right eye and ended up missing the “rest of that school year because of his injuries and has needed surgeries and other medical treatment costing more than $430,000.” Additionally, because of his injuries, he is no longer able to play baseball, let alone other sports and “will be unable to engage in any job or profession which requires full peripheral vision, depth perception, or ability to visualize small details.” The suit further stated:
“As a result of his injuries, and their life-altering effect on him, the plaintiff has suffered from depression and anxiety, for which he has required counseling.”
Though details of the settlement have yet to be released, when the lawsuit was originally filed it sought unspecified damages. It also named the college as a defendant because it alleged Dartmouth was negligent because the “practice facility was poorly illuminated, the screen was old and inappropriate for college-level use and coaches created a sense of security by failing to instruct him on how to use it.” To make matters worse, following the incident the school discarded the screen, despite knowing the incident would likely be investigated.
In response to the lawsuit, lawyers for the college initially pushed back against the allegations and wrote that “being hit by a ball during baseball practice is an inherent risk of the sport of which the plaintiff was aware.” They added that the college “did not increase this risk.”
Fortunately for French, though, the suit finally settled. When commenting on the agreement, a Dartmouth spokesperson said simply that the “matter is resolved.”