A Hall County State Court judge ruled in favor of Riverside Military Academy in a lawsuit involving a cadet injured in a fight, finding the school had no knowledge the other cadet presented a risk.
Stephen Wechsler, a former cadet, filed a lawsuit in September 2015 regarding a 2013 fight in the academy’s dormitory.
Attorneys for both sides, Laurie Speed and Jason Darnielle, did not return a call for comment.
In Wechsler’s suit, the cadet claimed he had been punched in the face and assaulted until Riverside staff intervened.
He was later treated for a concussion, broken nose, deviated septum and fractured teeth.
“The perpetrator was immediately expelled,” Riverside President Col. James Benson said in a statement at the time of the lawsuit’s filing. “After receiving treatment for his injuries, which included contusions, dental fractures and a deviated septum, the victim continued as a student at the academy until his graduation in May of 2014. Unfortunately, fights break out in every high school, and Riverside is no exception.”
In October, the school filed a motion for summary judgment claiming “mutual combat” and a lack of any “superior knowledge as to the danger.”
According to State Court Judge B.E. Roberts’ order, the court ruled “reasonable minds could differ on the issue as to whether (Wechsler) had the mutual intent to fight.”
“This court finds that in order for (Wechsler) to establish that (Riverside) had superior knowledge that cadet (Christopher McAteer) created a dangerous condition while on school property, that there needs to be evidence of similar occurrences to the incident of Oct. 14, 2013, which involved a physical altercation,” according to the order.
Roberts granted Riverside’s motion for summary judgment.
He ruled there was no “relevant evidence” to support the claim and wrote that “consequently (Riverside) is entitled to judgment in its favor.”
McAteer died in April 2015.