Belleville school district says mother’s personal injury suit alleges insufficient facts

Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Sep. 22, 2015, 10:27am


A Belleville school district claims a mother’s lawsuit does not provide sufficient facts, which alleges her son was injured when a tent collapsed at a school picnic.

Jacqueline Tunstall filed the lawsuit as the mother and natural guardian of minor Ryan Neal McKinzie Tunstall on May 12 against Belleville School District 118.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff’s child was in attendance at a school picnic on May 12, 2014, when a tent collapsed and a support pole struck him in the head. The plaintiff claims the boy sustained traumatic injuries to the left side of his head.

The school is accused of negligence in supervising or erecting the tent.

Tunstall argues that as a direct and proximate result of the school district’s negligence, her son incurred past pain and suffering and is expected to experience future pain and suffering.

Belleville School District filed a combined motion to dismiss the complaint on July 6 through attorneys Barney Mundorf, David Mannix and Sarah Knoploh of Guin Mundorf in Collinsville, arguing that while the complaint alleges negligence, it fails to allege facts sufficient to establish the existence and the nature of the duty of care which the district allegedly owed the minor. The defendant also claims the plaintiff failed to allege acts or omissions that show a breach of the duty of care.

“The complaint merely alleges the pleader’s conclusion that the District’s conduct was negligent, but the complaint does not allege the elements required to show negligence. Specifically, the complaint fails to plead the existence and the nature of the duty of care which the district allegedly owed the minor plaintiff. Further, the complaint fails to allege acts and/or omissions that, if proven, could constitute a breach of the duty of care,” the defendant’s supporting memorandum of law states.

Because the alleged incident occurred on public property, the defendant also alleges immunity from negligence for any failure to supervise under the Local Government and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act.

Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson scheduled a motion hearing for Nov. 10 at 9 a.m. to address the defendant’s motion. He also set a status conference for Jan. 11, 2016, at 9 a.m.

The plaintiff seeks damages in excess of $50,000, plus attorney’s fees and costs.

Tunstall is represented by Michael McGlynn of McGlynn & McGlynn in Belleville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-286

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