Jury Awards $700,000 in Punitive Damages

Making the grand total of compensatory and punitive damages awarded to the Doe family just above $9 million.

ESD Board Chairman John Eagle said he disagreed with the verdict.

“The verdict was wrong,” he said.

Statement from Episcopal School of Dallas

(DALLAS, September 21, 2011) – Attorneys representing the Episcopal School of Dallas said a jury’s ruling against the school is fraught with errors and will be appealed.

“The jury did not hear all the testimony; an excellent institution was deprived of its day in court,” said Chrysta Castañeda, lead ESD attorney. “The jury did not hear the strongest evidence in support of ESD, and I will urge my client to seek justice in the Court of Appeals,” Castañeda added.

The jury found that ESD was largely not liable for the inappropriate student/teacher relationship, but did award damages because of the separation of the former student from ESD.

“I don’t blame the jury,” said Castañeda. “They made decisions based on what they heard, not on what they didn’t hear.  As an example, they did not hear testimony from the plaintiff’s best friend, who bravely told an empty jury box about the circumstances that led to the separation, which the plaintiff denied on the stand. In addition, the court remarkably refused to allow rebuttal testimony from ESD regarding the last-minute surprise testimony presented by the plaintiffs which had nothing to do with the facts in this case; that’s an astonishing ruling in this kind of proceeding.”

“You will hear differently,”  said John Eagle, ESD Board Chairman, “but there are no winners in this case; it’s been extremely difficult for our community.  I have already talked to our Executive Committee and the insurance company.  This will be appealed, and it will be resolved in the right way.  We have a strong and resilient school community, and it’s one that is very supportive of the school’s decision-making process in this matter.

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