Douglas All-Star Wrestler Sues Coach And School For Injury During Practice

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Injuries suffered by a Douglas High School student last fall during a wrestling practice were the result of “wanton and reckless, grossly negligent” acts by a coach and the school district, according to allegations contained in a lawsuit filed in Cochise County Superior Court.

The July 16 complaint contends Div. 3 all-star wrestLer Isaac Varela was wrestling with assistant coach Albert Ambriz on Nov. 6, 2019 when he allegedly suffered lifelong permanent injuries. Varela is seeking a judgment against Ambriz and Douglas Unified School District (DUSD) for past and future medical bills, as well as pain and suffering.

The nature of Varela’s injuries is not described in his civil complaint but were detailed in a notice of claim and demand for settlement served on DUSD at least 60 days before the lawsuit was filed.

DUSD is listed as a defendant under the theory of respondeat superior as Ambriz’s employer or agency. The lawsuit alleges DUSD knew, or should have known, Ambriz “was improperly qualified, improperly trained, and improperly supervised” when he purportedly engaged in conduct that led to Varela’s injuries.

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Varela’s lawsuit goes on to allege that acts or omissions by Ambriz and DUSD were “the product of a custom, policy, pattern, or practice of deliberate indifference” to the student’s welfare.  The lawsuit also names various “John Doe” defendants whose true names can be added once they are identified.

Ambriz and DUSD were served with the lawsuit in late July. They must file their formal answers later this month. Varela is represented by Herman Zickerman, a Tucson-based personal injury litigator.