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St. Clair County mother sues son's classmate over finger injury

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich | Oct 30, 2015

A St. Clair County mother is suing her son's classmate, the classmate's mother, the Cahokia school district and the district's insurance company over injuries the son sustained during school hours.

Jershaun Neal, by and through his mother and natural guardian Leheshia West-Neal, filed a lawsuit on Sept. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Makayla Wells, JoAnn Watson, Mississippi Valley Insurance Cooperative and the Board of Education for Cahokia Unit School District Unit No. 187, alleging negligence, assault and battery, reckless and willful misconduct, violation of parental responsibility law, negligent supervision and breach of contract.

According to the complaint, on Oct. 7, 2014, Neal and Wells were students in class at Wirth 7th Grade Academy School in Cahokia when Wells intentionally grabbed, twisted and bent Neal's left index finger which resulted in a fracture. The suit says Neal didn't provoke or consent to Wells' behavior.

The suit says Neal had to have surgery to treat the injury and has incurred medical expenses of more than $20,000.

The lawsuit states the school district showed a conscious disregard for the safety of others as they failed to properly supervise Wells when they knew she suffered from behavioral problems and had acted violently toward other students in the past.

Watson, who is Wells' mother, is also faulted with failing to supervise her daughter as she knew she had a propensity to assault and/or be physical with fellow students, the suit says. The complaint says Watson could have placed Wells in an alternate school or home-schooled her, as well as obtain medical and psychological treatment for her daughter to ensure she wouldn't cause harm to others.

Despite providing all of the necessary paperwork and making multiple demands for compensation, the suit says Mississippi Valley has failed to pay the plaintiffs medical payment coverage benefits for the medical expenses they have incurred due to Neal's finger injury.

The plaintiffs seeks damages of more than $50,000, in addition to other relief deemed appropriate by law. They are being represented by attorney Marc P. Weinberg of Goldenhersh Law Offices in East St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-528.

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