Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for January 10, 2013

Family files suit over girl’s death

The soccer goal at Watson Lake Secondary School which fell and killed five-year-old Jaedyn Amann last July had been neglected.

By Stephanie Waddell on January 10, 2013 at 4:09 pm

photo

Photo by Whitehorse Star

Pictured Above: JAEDYN AMANN

The soccer goal at Watson Lake Secondary School which fell and killed five-year-old Jaedyn Amann last July had been neglected.

It was also in a state of disrepair and not secured, posing a “hazard to every individual who came into contact with it.”

So states the lawsuit against the Yukon government’s Department of Education, filed in court Wednesday afternoon by the girl’s family.

“The soccer goal which struck Jaedyn’s head and caused her death posed a hazard which the defendant knew or ought to have known existed,” say the documents.

They list as plaintiffs the girl’s father, Paul, mother Tara Hicks and three-year-old brother Parker Amann.

The family makes their home in Watson Lake for part of the year, as well as in Nanaimo, B.C.

Jaedyn was struck in the head by the falling soccer goal on the field at the Watson Lake school at about 4 p.m. last July 4 when she was there playing.

She, her brother and mother were at the field. Jaedyn was crawling on all fours on the grass when the goal toppled and struck her.

She was taken immediately to the Watson Lake Hospital for treatment.

Despite medical intervention, she was pronounced dead due to a blunt force head injury just about four hours later at 8 p.m., it’s noted in the court documents.

Negligence by the Department of Education is stated in the court file as the sole cause of the little girl’s death and subsequent injuries to her parents and brother.

A list detailing the particulars of the government’s alleged negligence includes the:

• failure to restrict the use of the soccer goal to indoor use for which it was designed and intended;

• failure to inspect and maintain the soccer goal;

• failure to warn individuals using the field of the danger posed by the soccer goal; and

• failure to ensure the goal was properly secured.

The lawsuit goes on to note that the girl’s parents and three-year-old brother have suffered severe emotional and psychological trauma, nervous shock and loss of enjoyment of life, which they will continue to experience.

The three have received counselling and psychological treatment.

In addition, the girl’s parents have suffered a loss of income and other benefits while also incurring expenses for medication, treatment and other such costs.

Further, it’s stated, the three family members have also had a loss of companionship, care-giving and emotional and financial support that Jaedyn would have provided.

Among them are: meal preparation and clean-up, household cleaning and maintenance, spring and fall cleaning, laundry, child care, and income support into her parents’ surviving senior years.

The lawsuit claims for general and special damages, damages for pecuniary loss (financial loss from a death), costs and anything further the court may allow.

In an interview with the Star in November, as the lawsuit was being prepared, Jim Tucker, the family’s lawyer, said: “Nothing can eliminate the tragedy this family has suffered, but we will be taking steps to recover damages for their losses.”

The goal had been designed for indoor use only.

Immediately after the tragedy, the government removed similar soccer goals from pitches across the territory.

CommentsAdd a comment

what?

Jan 10, 2013 at 6:09 pm

I had sympathy until I read down to where they are trying to cash in on the notion that this baby would have cleaned up after them and supported them in their old age. Shame on you.

anonymous

Jan 10, 2013 at 9:45 pm

I was on their side until this:

...and financial support that Jaedyn would have provided. Among them are: meal preparation and clean-up, household cleaning and maintenance, spring and fall cleaning, laundry, child care, and income support into her parents’ surviving senior years.

SICK! This probably won’t get printed but the last thing on my mind would be the money I would be losing or if my kid could have provided meal preparation, cleaning and financial support….geez.

Maybe that should have left that part out.

Fred Statham

Jan 11, 2013 at 9:57 am

Excellent article. It just states THE FACTS in an objective manner; as The Whitehorse Star ALWAYS DOES.

This is why I look forward to reading The Whitehorse Star EVERYTIME I visit Whitehorse.

anonymous

Jan 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

How dare anyone suggest that this family is just looking for money.  We know this family very well and I know from experience that newspaper reports are not always so truthful.  Think about that before you judge this family.  What has happened in their life is tragic and there is absolutely no way that money is their ultimate goal.  They are trying to prevent this from happening to another family. 

just a mom

Jan 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

We all have to remember that everyone grieves in their own way.  Shame on the commentators for coming down on this family.  Until you walk in their shoes you have no right to say what you did.  These parents are probably just trying to get any justice they can for there dear sweet daughter.  They are doing what their lawyer advises them to do in hopes that they can have some justice…..
Your rude comments make me sick have some compassion

Mary

Jan 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

The first two comments are ridiculous.  You’re missing the big picture here… A little innocent life was lost at the hands of a preventable tragedy which was due to the negligence and lack of responsibility of the Yukon government.  They have to take responsibility for this. Someone died because of this, and she is the 38th person to die in North America because of these nets and negligence of those responsible for them.

Not Impressed

Jan 13, 2013 at 8:25 pm

We all know that this is the only way the Yukon (conservative)Party will pay any attention to this issue - keeping our children safe.

Jackie Ward

Jan 14, 2013 at 12:52 pm

The first 2 comments are right. Never in my life have I heard of the reason “taking care of me when I’m older”, “spring and winter cleanup”, “loss of income” from the death of a child. A commenter said they are trying to prevent this happening to someone else. How exactly? YTG is not responsible for this tragedy. These nets have been around since I was a kid. Where was the parent supervision in this case? I’m sorry, the family should of not mentioned the above reasons for a lawsuit.

stan rogers

Jan 14, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Please give this family a break.
The financial support that their child would have provided is likely something their lawyer wanted to include in the suit. When you enter the realm of litigation you usually go with what the professions recommend.
What bothers me is that if any parent or coach was truly aware of the risk they would likely have come up with some anchoring system and pre-game post-break checks that would have been been proactive.
Ultimately the responsibility goes with the Department of Education. Its very sad overall. The family may want a settlement because they can no longer function with their pre-accident abilities. Again,  give them a break.

Christina

Jan 14, 2013 at 8:38 pm

Jackie,
It IS the responsibility of the Yukon Government to maintain these nets and to ensure that they are safe, as it was on Government property.  It’s not like this was someone’s backyard… it was on a field in a school yard and these nets were meant to be used indoors only, not outside… and they were supposed to be put away at the end of the school year.  These two things were avoided completely.  Jaedyn’s mother was with Jaedyn when this happened, and other parents were there also.  They watched in horror as the net tipped over when a small 3 year old child leaned against it for a moment.  If this were your child that died because of such a preventable accident like this one you wouldn’t even have the nerve to respond like you did. 
I should also mention that it is common practice for lawyers to advise their clients to sue to the full extend of their abilities - even such things as the loss of elderly care.  You would know this if you have read any cases where a child’s life has been lost at the hands of someone else.  Do you know what other lethal objects had been around since you were a kid?  Lawn darts… but those were outlawed after one too many people died because of them.  How about the days before people needed to acquire licenses for motorized vehicles?  Licenses were implemented because one too many people died while driving without being qualified.  Different scenarios, same idea.  Unfortunately it may take the death of a little 5 year old girl, or in this case 38 PEOPLE IN NORTH AMERICA (and 56 other injuries!) because of these nets by the manufacturer “Raymond.” 
The police have proven time and again that they are top heavy and can be pushed over with the tip of a finger.  Teenagers in Watson Lake have been hurt and injured by these very nets.  There would be no other reason for all of these nets to be removed from Yukon fields, and across Canada, if not secured properly, if the Yukon government didn’t actually believe them to be dangerous.

Before you make terrible accusations or statements, please remember that the family has read yours, and will continue to read these comments.  Have a heart… or maybe a child, and you will understand.

Arn Anderson

Jan 15, 2013 at 10:27 am

What happened is a tragedy and my condolences to the family, however this legal case seems selfish in nature and does not represent that young girl.
I remember playing around those nets, when they actually left the nets on and we were probably the reason they started to take them down because they started to get wrecked. Anyways recalling back to the past, janitors used to walk out on the fields and push them down for about a year or two. Then they stopped. Then another year they were grouped all together on the field at the end of the day. That stopped and pretty soon some fields had them, some didn’t and some upgraded to permanent nets.

Freckles

Jan 15, 2013 at 11:35 am

As a friend of this family I am saddened by the negative comments made and also disgusted by the insensitivity of people who offer their opinions without considering the suffering that this wonderful family is going through. Their daughter is gone forever, their lives are changed forever their future no longer looks like it did six months ago because part of their family is gone. I can’t understand why some people are focusing on such a small part of this article that might I add was not written by any family member. This family needs love and support not negative and ignorant judgement during a time of such loss and sadness.

Yukoner

Jan 15, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Thank you to all those who have responded to the few ignorant comments that have been made. Given a choice this family would take their little girl back in a HEARTBEAT! This is not about financial compensation, this is about awareness and assurance that nothing of this nature has to happen to another family again.
As many others have stated here, I would basically guarantee that Jaedyn’s mom and dad did not sit down at the lawyers office and list off the items in this article, this is the way of the legal system.
And as others have stated, use your mind and hearts before you post such HORRIBLE words that a family who is still suffering and will suffer for the rest of their lives as they have to think back on that day will wind up reading on a page like this.
My thoughts will be forever with the family despite having never met them. I would wish this on no one.
Again, shame on the few of you who take it upon yourself to judge what they must be going through!

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