A negligence lawsuit filed on behalf of a Cochise County teen hospitalized in 2017 after being struck in the back of the head by a golf ball will be decided by a jury next summer or fall, more than three years after the incident.
Daniel and Sandra Mundt are suing the Sierra Vista Unified School District and four then-Buena High School students for injuries their daughter sustained March 23, 2017 when some students were throwing a golf ball against a wall in the presence of school staff. One of the throws, however, struck the girl’s head as she sat in a patio area during her lunch period.
The school’s nursing staff initially treated the then-sophomore, but the girl was later admitted to a hospital with a concussion. According to the lawsuit, she suffered “lasting and severe” affects which caused her to miss several weeks of school, such as headaches, a lack of balance, light and noise sensitivity, as well as cognitive issues including impaired reaction time and memory problems.
The Mundts filed the lawsuit in March 2018 after the school district rejected a $500,000 offer to settle their negligence claim without litigation. Initially the only defendant in the case was the district, but in April 2019 the lawsuit was amended to add four students and their parents as defendants after a Cochise County Superior Court judge ordered the school to share its student records with the Mundts’ attorney.
The defendants have filed answers to the lawsuit in which they deny liability for the girl’s injuries. Judge Laura Cardinal has given the various attorneys until Dec. 30 to file a joint proposed scheduling order that will set case management deadlines for disclosure of documents, exchanging witness lists, and completion of depositions. The proposal must also include an estimate of how long the jury trial expected to last.
Upon receipt of the proposed scheduling order, Cardinal will set a date for the jury trial, which is expected to take place in mid to late 2020.
The Sierra Vista Police Department was not informed of the incident at the time. No criminal charges were filed against any of the students.