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Lawsuit filed against Newton school board for January bus wreck

COVINGTON — The father of two of the children who were injured in an accident involving two Newton County school buses that sent 40 children to the hospital has filed a class-action lawsuit against the school system.

Jimmy Coglianese, the father of Olivia and Angelina Coglianese, filed the suit on June 12 on behalf of his daughters and “all others similarly situated.”

The named defendants are Newton County School Board members Jeff Meadors, Eddie Johnson, Shakila Henderson-Baker, Almond Turner and Abigail Coggin, and former Superintendent Gary Mathews.

The suit claims that the school district was “negligent in causing the collision, either directly or vicariously through its bus driver.”

The accident occurred on Jan. 22 when the driver of one of the buses, Gloria Inscore, of Covington, ran into the back end of another bus that was stopped to unload passengers on Ga. Highway 162 near Rocky Plains Elementary School.

Forty elementary school students, all with minor injuries, and the other bus driver were taken to Newton Medical Center and Rockdale Medical Center as a result of the accident. Inscore was taken to Atlanta Medical Center and was cited by the Georgia State Patrol for following too closely. The Newton County School Board terminated Inscore in February.

In the lawsuit, Coglianese, through his attorney, Salvatore Serio of Conyers, alleges that the Board of Education is liable in the accident because it is responsible for the proper maintenance of the school buses; for hiring, training and maintaining proper drivers; and for the overall operations of the Newton County Board of Education.

“Its negligence is a proximate cause of the collision,” the suit states.

Coglianese is seeking class-action status so that anyone who was riding in either bus and injured as a result of the wreck can be named as a plaintiff and seek compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering.

Serio said on Wednesday that no member of the school board has yet filed an answer to the complaint. A spokesperson for the Newton County School System did not respond to a request for comment by the Citizen by press time Wednesday.

Comments

Shart15 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Baker, Meadors, Turner, Johnson, Coggin and Mathews all defendants. I hope they treat them like they all treated Meadors when he did nothing wrong and they acted ugly to him for doing his job. Maybe the Conyers attorney should put him on the stand and he can turn on the system for payback - ha! I would love it!

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Tatersalad 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I wonder when the fox bite lawsuit is coming. Just saying. I say go for it. This board hides so much from the public I bet if you depose them all you would learn a lot. . DEPOSE THEM ALL.

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eyewitness 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is called payback for a year of bad behavior last year. Paying the infamous pair 70K of our tax money the very idea.

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RV30015 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I hope other parents join this and get their due. The arrogance of the Newton BOE is appalling.

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Covingtonian 11 months, 2 weeks ago

So let's bite off our nose to spite our face. We the tax payers will ultimately have to pay for any compensations whether it be for increased insurance cost or any monies beyond what insurance pays. SMH

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HonestAbe 11 months, 2 weeks ago

This is your old friend HonestAbe- Will miss your comments Covingtonian

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henrystamm 11 months, 2 weeks ago

I am baffled. This appears to be an accident and only one person is responsible, the diver for those that cannot think past their nose. I agree with most of all the commentators that the board is incompetent and manipulative, but to spend taxpayers money to enhance some money hungry plaintive and their lawyer is stupid. This case should and must be thrown out ASAP.

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termlimits 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Unreal. You folks want our BOE to pay for this? Who do you think pays when they are found liable? Not them personally!!! It's you and I that pay via taxes. It was an accident and now this ambulance-chasing lawyer has it so you can bet there will be a settlement. We, the tax payers, lose!!!!!!!!!

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Thishonky 11 months, 2 weeks ago

The problem here is that the same school system by its silence allowed a principal - plaintiff to run wild for months destroying our education reputation so it sounds like turn about is in fair play.

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