BOE lawyers file answer in bus wreck suit
Defense lawyers representing the Newton County Board of Education have answered a class-action lawsuit filed by the father of two children who were among the 40 people sent to the hospital after a twobus accident in January. The defense denies allegations in the lawsuit and says the BOE is “not the proper party defendant capable of being sued.’’
The suit, filed by Jimmy Coglianese on June 12 in the Superior Court of Newton County, on behalf of his daughters Olivia and Angelina Coglianese and “all others similarly situ- ated,” claims the Newton County School System was “negligent in causing the collision, either directly or vicariously, through its bus driver.”
The suit 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 defendants.
The suit further claims that the BOE and former superintendent were “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.”
Attorneys with Harben, Hartley & Hawkins in Gainesville, representing the BOE and former superintendent Mathews, say in their answer to the lawsuit that “any injury or damages suffered by the plaintiffs were the result of an inde- pendent intervening cause” and were “not the result of any alleged negligence or other actions or inactions of defendants.”
The answer and responsive pleadings further state that the BOE is “not the proper party defendant capable of being sued.”