Blog : Tennessee

Lawsuit Filed on Behalf of Ooltewah High School Rape Victim

School Violence Law filed suit on behalf of the Ooltewah High School Rape Victim who was sodomized with a pool-cue by teammates.

The lawsuit, as reported by the Times Free Press, was filed in Federal court today, stating that district administrators and school employees knew a culture of abuse had been taking place for years, “and their failure to remediate this rampant abuse resulted in escalation of male student athlete’s harassment, hazing, and assaults of teammates.”

Our client’s (referred to as John Doe in the lawsuit) Title IX rights were violated, as the defendants knew violence and gender-based hazing was taking place and “created a climate in which such misconduct was tolerated, thus encouraging continued and repeated misconduct and proximately causing injury to John.

The Hamilton County Board of Education, former Ooltewah High School Principal Jim Jarvis, the school’s former Athletic Director Allard “Jesse” Nayadley and former boy’s head basketball coach Andre “Tank” Montgomery, were “reckless, grossly negligent and deliberately indifferent to the health, safety and welfare of the [victim].”

Attorneys for the victim, Douglas Fierberg and Monica Beck , along with co-counsel Eddie Schmidt, argue the Ooltewah High School Board failed to “exercise reasonable care to supervise and protect our client, and that Jarvis, Nayadley and Mongtomery’s negligent actions provided legal grounds to remove the board’s immunity.”

“Schools are required by federal and state law to prohibit violent hazing and gender-based violence,” Monica Beck said in a written statement to the Times Free Press. “This young man had a right to participate on the basketball team without sacrificing his physical and emotional safety to hazing traditions long known and tolerated by school officials.”

School Violence Law to Represent Victim in Hazing and Rape Lawsuit

“Top national hazing and sexual assault attorney hired to represent victim in Ooltewah sexual violence lawsuit.” – Times Free Press

1455673250_013116xxOoltewah-07_t1070_hda6ca76c574fc000f349646b87d599fb567c0a4cSchool Violence Law‘s Doug Fierberg and attorney Eddie Schmidt, from Nashville, will be representing the 15-year-old Ooltewah High School freshman and his family who was allegedly raped as apart of a freshman hazing ritual committed by three of his upper-class man teammates during a basketball team trip to Gatlinburg on December 22nd.

Representatives in  Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston’s office said they believe younger players endured abuse from older teammates before the trip. It was a part of the team’s “beat-in” culture, and it was routine for freshman to be hazed and even assaulted, they told to The Times Free Press.

“Fierberg’s practice, School Violence Law, is the only nationwide practice that specializes in representing victims of violence in school-related incidents; and Fierberg has personally served as lead counsel for victims of sexual violence and hazing at schools and universities across the nation.” – Times Free Press

Students seeking to participate in school teams and programs should be protected from hazing and sexual violence. Hazing is not a matter of simple “horseplay,” or validly explained away by notions that “boys will be boys.

Click here to read the entire Times Free Press article.

Tennessee Hazing Death: Estate of Deceased College Student v. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity et al.

Represented the family of college student, who died following an evening of initiation hazing by the Rho Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity at Tennessee State University.  Client was a minister to youth in his community.  He was also an honorably discharged Navy veteran who had been awarded the National Medal of Honor.  “Jo Jo” died on the side of a high school track following the onset of an asthma attack resulting from hazing activities conducted by his fraternity and fraternity brothers.  The fraternity brothers denied hazing Jo Jo, and such denials were discredited by our work and the work of the local medical examiner, who had been retained as our expert.  Jo Jo’s surviving parents obtained a substantial confidential financial settlement. Media coverage of this case can be viewed here.