Ex-private school student sues Catholic Church for $750k
THE Catholic Church has been hit with a $750,000 lawsuit from a prestigious former Gold Coast private school student who allegedly slipped on a soggy oval and badly broke his ankle, dashing his dreams of becoming an air force pilot.
Thomas John Harding, now 18, has sued the church's Brisbane diocese over the incident which happened when he was a Year 8 student at St Michael's College at Merrimac in July 2015.
He claims he and other students should have been allowed to play on the oval during wet weather because of the increased risk of harm, a risk that he alleged was 'foreseeable and not insignificant'
The claim, filed last month in Southport District Court, states that almost 60mm of rain had fallen in the area in the lead-up to the accident and the Gold Coast City Council had cancelled inter-school sport.
But during a lunch break, Mr Harding and other students were allegedly permitted to play on the oval in breach of school policy.
He allegedly slipped and suffered a severe fracture to his right ankle and was taken by ambulance to hospital.
Mr Harding needed five operations to repair the ankle, including having a metal plate and screws inserted, the claim states.
The claim alleges that Mr Harding continues to suffer 'constant pain', muscle spasms and stiffness, as well as difficulty walking and sleeping, and needs nursing care and 'assistance with daily living'.
" (Mr Harding) has been adversely affected in his everyday work and recreational activities and had suffered a significant loss of the amenities of life," the claim states.
It states that Mr Harding was 13 at the time and in the air force cadets, with aspirations of becoming a Royal Australian Air Force pilot.
But the injury, which meant he struggled 'basic' tasks including prolonged walking, had left him unable to pass the RAAF physical test and 'extinguished' his career aspirations.
The claim states that after failed attempts to become a mechanic because of significant struggles to complete practical training, he retrained and sought work in the IT industry.
He now worked as a computer technician, earning about $768 a week instead of the $2000 a week he could have been making as an air force pilot, the claim says.
His claim includes $412,675 for lost earnings, $141,525 for future medical assistance and $50 a week for 'significant care and assistance' from his mother.
It states that the school failed to close or inspect the oval or supervise or prevent students from using it during the wet weather.
The church has yet to file its defence.
Originally published as Ex-private school student sues Catholic Church for $750k