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For week ended April 02, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
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Sent on Mormon-News: 29Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Student suing BYU over loss of eye
Deseret News 28Mar00 D3
By Hans Camporreales: Deseret News staff writer

PROVO, UTAH -- A BYU student has filed a lawsuit against the University, claiming that a teacher's failure to follow school policy resulted in the loss of his eye. Nicholas Humphrey says that teacher Dian S. Monson should have kept him and fellow students Tyler Layton and America Peterson from using a paint ball gun as part of a dramatic presentation in an honors intensive writing class. But the University says that Monson didn't even know what a paint ball gun was until it was used in the class.

Humphrey filed the lawsuit on Monday, claiming that on April 15, 1996, he presented a dramatization of a scene from Shakespeare's King Lear to the class along with Layton and Peterson. The lawsuit says, "A member of the group alerted [Monson] to the fact that they intended to shoot one of the members of the group, Nicholas, with a paint ball gun as part of their dramatic presentation," It goes on to say that "possession and firing of a paint ball gun on BYU campus violated BYU's policy prohibiting the possession or use of firearms on or near the BYU campus." Monson knew or should have known that the paint ball gun was a violation, and stopped the group from discharging it.

To keep from being injured, Humphrey put a notebook under his jacket. Peterson then shot him with the gun during the course of the presentation, but was evidently unaware that the gun had been loaded with two pellets. As Humphrey fell to the floor as part of the presentation, Peterson shot him with a second pellet, striking him in the eye, according to BYU attorney David Thomas.

Thomas claims that Monson simply didn't know anything about paint ball guns, "The teacher had no idea what a paint ball gun was. She had never heard of paint ball gun, she had never seen a paint ball gun before." He also says that Monson initially, "thought it might be a squirt gun."

While Humphrey lost sight in the eye, he went on to serve an LDS mission to Norway and return to BYU. The injury has so far cost him $75,000, and further surgery may be needed to correct some deformities associated with the injury. The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.


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