Thursday, June 2, 2005 Posted: 1:33 PM EDT (1733 GMT)
CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- The parents of a sixth-grader who choked to death on marshmallows while playing a classroom game settled their lawsuit against the suburban school district Thursday for $2 million.
The settlement came in the second week of a trial over the 1999 death of 12-year-old Catherine "Casey" Fish. Her parents had been seeking unspecified damages.
"This case was never about money," said the family's attorney, Francis Patrick Murphy. "This case has been about getting the message across to America that dangerous games should not be played in school, with or without supervision."
Casey's parents had argued that Glenview School District and teacher Kevin Dorken were responsible for the girl's death because Dorken, who had been supervising the game, was out of the room while the children were stuffing marshmallows in their mouths to see who could hold the most and still say the words "chubby bunny."
School attorney Thomas DiCianni had argued that because of the way the classrooms were laid out, other teachers could still see into Dorken's room.
"There would have been no winners had this case gone to the end, regardless of how it turned out," DiCianni said.
One of Casey's schoolmates, Elissa Henricks, now 18, took the stand Wednesday and recalled how Casey struggled to breathe. "She tapped my arm and her lips were purple, and I knew she was in trouble," Henricks said.
According to testimony, the girls ran for help and Dorken tried the Heimlich maneuver on the limp girl, who died a few hours later at a hospital.
"I'd say it's a parent's worst nightmare, but nightmares end," Casey's father, John Fish, said after the settlement was announced. "Unless you've ever lost a child, please don't even try to imagine it."
After the settlement, the jurors asked to meet with Casey's parents and expressed their sympathy, Murphy said.
Holy crap. There is no way in hell they should have settled this, much less for 2 million dollars. Are you freaking kidding me? Listen, you moron. Your daughter was obviously an idiot and no one else needs to imagine situations like this because their children aren't so terminally stupid as to manage to choke to death on marshmallows. I don't know what sort of corkyesque mutated genes you've been passing on but even the retarded manage to put objects of food into their mouths and not die because of it. Maybe we should all view it as a good thing this particular genetic mistake ended in a dead end before it too could proprogate. I mean, what the hell is next? Teachers doing tongue twisters in class and parents of some mongoloid suing because they manage to choke on their own tongue and die? If I was a juror, I would bitch slap both of the parents and hit their lawyer in the face with my flail.