Suit filed against BOE in ac­ci­dent

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON de­v­er­son@cov­news.com

(The New­ton County School Sys­tem was) neg­li­gent in caus­ing the col­li­sion, ei­ther di­rectly or vi­car­i­ously through its bus driver.

Jimmy Coglianese

Claim in the law­suit against NCSS

The fa­ther of two chil­dren who were among 40 peo­ple sent to the hos­pi­tal af­ter a twobus ac­ci­dent in Jan­uary has filed a law­suit against the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion and for­mer su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Mathews.

Jimmy Coglianese filed suit on June 12 in the Su­pe­rior Court of New­ton County, on be­half of his daugh­ters, Olivia and An­gelina Coglianese, and “all oth­ers sim­i­larly sit­u­ated.”

The law­suit lists for­mer New­ton County Schools’ su­per­in­ten­dent Gary Mathews, and Board of Ed­u­ca­tion mem­bers Jeff Meadors, Ed­die John­son, Shak­ila Hen­der­son-Baker, Al­mond Turner and Abi­gail Cog­gin as the de­fen­dants in the case.

The law­suit claims the New­ton County School Sys­tem was “neg­li­gent in caus­ing the col­li­sion, ei­ther di­rectly or vi­cari- ously through its bus driver.”

The Jan. 22 ac­ci­dent hap­pened as bus driver Glo­ria In­score, 55, was headed north on Ga. High­way 162 and a sec­ond bus stopped in front of her to de­liver a stu­dent. In­score failed to slow and struck the other bus. She was cited by the Ge­or­gia State Pa­trol for fol­low­ing too closely, and was fired by the school sys­tem in Fe­bru­ary.

The Cogliane­ses’ at­tor­ney, Sal­va­tore Se­rio, who has law of­fices in Cony­ers, claims in the law­suit that, as a re­sult of the col­li­sion be­tween the two buses, Olivia and An­gelina Coglianese and other chil­dren on the buses were in­jured.

The law­suit fur­ther says that the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion was “re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the school bus in proper op­er­at­ing con­di­tion; for hir­ing, train­ing and main­tain­ing proper drivers; and for the

over­all op­er­a­tions” and that the Board’s “neg­li­gence is a prox­i­mate cause of the col­li­sion.”

Ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, Coglianese filed action to “re­cover for the pain and suf­fer­ing, med­i­cal ex­penses, puni­tive dam­ages, and in­juries sus­tained by his chil­dren.”

Coglianese has filed class-action sta­tus so that “all per­sons who were rid­ing on ei­ther of the school buses in ques­tion who were in­jured in the in­ci­dent” can be in­cluded as plain­tiffs in the case.

Sherri Davis-Viniard, NCSS di­rec­tor of pub­lic re­la­tions, said in a state­ment Thurs­day that the school sys­tem is “aware of the law­suit; how­ever, as this is pend­ing lit­i­ga­tion, we are un­able to pro­vide any in­for­ma­tion at this time.”

Phillip Hart­ley, an at­tor­ney with Har­ben, Hart­ley & Hawkins in Gainesville, rep­re­sent­ing the BOE and for­mer su­per­in­ten­dent Mathews, said the law­suit is “just a reg­u­lar bus lit­i­ga­tion.”

“It’s just a typ­i­cal law­suit that we would ex­pect to arise out of that kind of bus wreck,” Hartwell said.

Hartwell said le­gal de­fenses and re­sponses to spe­cific para­graphs of the com­plaints in the Coglianese law­suit will be filed be­fore Sept. 8.

Sub­mit­ted photo/the Cov­ing­ton News

A New­ton County School Sys­tem school bus was part of a wreck on Jan. 22 that sent 40 peo­ple to the hos­pi­tal, in­clud­ing Olivia and An­gelina Coglianese, whose fa­ther filed a law­suit against the Board of Ed­u­ca­tion in June.

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