Family of Special Needs Man Settle for $200,000

The family of a 22-year-old man who drowned while at a camp for people with special needs will receive $200,000 in a settlement with Michigan public school district.

The settlement was approved last week during a court hearing before Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Clinton Canady III.

In 2008, Sean-Michael Glarner had a seizure while in a swimming pool at the Okemos Special Needs Day Camp, which is operated by the school district. His parents sued the school district, but the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in December that Okemos schools could not be sued because of government immunity.

Court documents show all parties involved agreed to a $200,000 wrongful death settlement in December.

Glarner’s parents, Hans and Denies, and their son, Nicholas, will receive about $122,900 after court costs and attorney fees.

Glarner, who had epilepsy and was mentally challenged, had attended the summer day camp for several years and knew how to swim. But he was susceptible to seizures that could be induced by light reflected off the water, according to the brief filed in the Court of Appeals by Glarner’s family.

The Glarners and the school district entered into an agreement stipulating a settlement would be paid, regardless of how the Court of Appeals ruled.

The settlement amount would have been higher if the justices ruled in the Glarners’ favor, it was noted.

Denise Glarner previously told the Lansing State Journal that she believed her son should have had more direct supervision, the lifeguard on duty did not know he was epileptic and was susceptible to seizures that could be induced by light reflected off the water.

“Not one person was watching Sean Glarner at the time he drowned to the time he was seen at the bottom of the pool, blue in color and ultimately non-responsive to revival efforts,” as stated in the lawsuit.

Do you feel that this settlement was fair? Do you believe that the school district, which operates the special needs summer camp program, should be held responsible for the safety of this special needs victim? Allegedly, the lifeguard on duty was unaware that the victim suffered from epilepsy. Please feel free to comment on this blog post.

You can contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878) for further information.

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