CCSD settles hazing case for $712,500 | NevadaAppeal.com
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CCSD settles hazing case for $712,500

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com

More than four years after a hazing scandal rocked the high school wrestling program, the Churchill County School District has reached a settlement as a result of the incident.

According to federal documents filed with the U.S. District Court in Reno, CCSD reached a settlement of $712,500 with Dee Gregory.

Of the total, $296,714.14 is for attorney’s fees, $104,670.45 for the victim’s medical expenses, $310,115.14 will be distributed to the victim and $1,000 to Dee Gregory to satisfy disputes with CCSD.

The $104,670.45 is subject to a lien by the U.S. Navy, according to the settlement, as the victim received medical and psychological treatment paid by the Navy as a benefit to the father.

“I can say they are very pleased with the outcome of the case,” Gregory’s attorney Cal Dunlap said. “I’m pleased with counsel of the school that they will see to it something like this doesn’t happen again.”

The suit charges false imprisonment, battery, assault, invasion of privacy, negligence, intent to inflict emotional distress, negligence to inflict emotional distress and aiding and abetting false imprisonment, battery and assault.

CCSD attorney Ann Alexander of Reno said the settlement will be paid by the district’s insurance. In addition, the agreement stipulates there is no admission of liability for the district.

“An admission of liability is general, something that is not done in a settlement,” Alexander said. “A settlement is engaged in because there is some risk of liability.”

One of Gregory’s sons was the victim of a hazing incident at a wrestling tournament in Las Vegas in December 2010, which involved five teammates. According to previous reports, the victim was tied with duct tape, stripped, spanked with a spatula, urinated on and locked outside his hotel room.

Dee Gregory, who was an assistant coach at the time, was coaching at a junior varsity tournament in Northern Nevada.

“It was a serious case with serious consequences,” Dunlap said. “We select cases that we hope that our actions will not only make the individual whole, but reform the system. We have been given assurance that the long tradition of athletic hazing has come to an end.”

According to court records, Austin Herzog, Tyler Cole, Nick Borovac, Trevor Parsons and Hector Anaya were also named on the federal civil suit. In addition, Brit Borovac, Danetta Cole and Rachel Dahl (Parsons’ mother and city of Fallon councilwoman) were also named in the lawsuit along with CCSD.

Herzog was the only individual over 18 at the time of the incident, and was charged by Las Vegas Metropolitan Police. The others, who were minors, were charged in Juvenile Court.

The individuals — Parsons, Herzog, Borovac, and their mothers — must pay an undisclosed sum.

Of the five, however, only three — Parsons, Herzog and Borovac — remained on the suit after Anaya and Cole were dropped from the litigation.

“He (Cole) was more a bystander than anything else,” Dunlap said. “He was not as culpable as the other.”

The former students were all suspended from Churchill County High School in January 2011 after serving numerous suspensions prior to the CCSD Board of Trustees ruling.

“I think it’s in the best interest to have this piece behind us, so that we can move forward,” Alexander said. “We just want to continue to strengthen training, strengthen policies and strengthen procedures to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

CCSD’s settlement came sooner than the other defendants and Alexander filed the good-faith settlement to “insulate” the district. The district’s proposal does not cover the other defendants, who could have filed cross claims claiming the district held some responsibility with the students involved in the incident.

“We were the first party to settle,” Alexander said. “Now there is a global settlement.”

“It wipes out any chance that any of the others could come after the school district to pay their part,” Dunlap added.