Wheelchair user files lawsuit against PPS
An adult student in Portland Public Schools' Community Transition Program is suing the district for injuries he received while on a district-sponsored field trip on March 28, 2016.
The lawsuit, filed March 1, asks for at least $230,000 for medical costs and psychological damages as a result of the man's face being driven into a metal sign at the district headquarters on 501 N. Dixon St.
Aaron Parker, an adult, has cerebral palsy, which impairs his walking ability and mental processing speed, according to court documents. Due to the incident, Parker claims through his attorney that he had to have multiple teeth pulled, a root canal, and other pain and injuries.
Parker was operating his electric wheelchair at the time of the accident, though his mother says in court papers that she warned the district that he needed to be heavily supervised. The lawsuit, filed by Southwest Portland attorney Jason Skelton, claims the district failed to recognize that Parker was feeling ill and out of control of his device, which resulted in him ramming his face into a metal sign.
The lawsuit names PPS employees Paul Meixner and Annie Barnett, though it says "any and all negligence on their part" is chalked up to their employer, Portland Public Schools. According to PPS, Meixner is no longer a PPS employee but worked in the Community Transition Program as a paraeducator at the time of the accident. Barnett still is employed at the district and also was a paraeducator in the program at the time. Paraeducators are assistants to students the district has determined need extra help.
A district spokesman said he could not comment on pending litigation. The district also declined to release information on whether Meixner and Barnett were on paid administrative leave after the incident, citing another lawsuit the district is involved in.