$2 Million Personal Injury Verdict Won for Child Who Was Victim of School Abuse

Lisa Arrowood and Raymond Ausrotas won a $2M jury verdict ($3.2M with pre-judgment interest) on behalf of an autistic child who had been physically abused at the Boston Higashi School, a private school for autistic children in Massachusetts.

The Tedemans enrolled their son at the Boston Higashi School because it promised that it would not use physical discipline, restraints, or other aversive techniques common at other schools for autistic or behaviorally challenged students. The evidence showed a pattern of abuse by teachers at the school which administrators and the medical director either ignored or failed to detect. Scott Tedeman’s injuries included cigarette burns, welts, and abrasions inflicted on him by teachers. Scott’s family discovered the abuse in July 2000 and later withdrew him from the school.

The Suffolk County jury found that Robert Fantasia, the former Executive Director, Toshihiro Ogimura, a senior administrator, and Masakatsu Nagata, a former supervisory teacher, were negligent in failing to prevent harm to Scott Tedeman, who was a residential student. The jury also found Dr. Joel Herskowitz, the former Medical Director at the school, liable for failing to detect and prevent Scott’s injuries. The jury found Masakatsu Nagata and Naoya Nishimura, another former teacher at the Higashi School, liable for conspiring to inflict Scott’s injuries and for intentionally causing Scott emotional distress.

The case was tried for six weeks before Justice Thomas Billings in Suffolk Superior Court. The jury heard 20 days of evidence and deliberated for 8 days before returning its verdict.