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Case 1:16-cv-00149 Document 1 Filed 02/17/16 Page 1 of 22

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT


FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF TEXAS
AUSTIN DIVISION
BLAKE RIPPLE, An Incapacitated
Person
Plaintiff,
vs.
MARBLE FALLS INDEPENDENT
SCHOOL DISTRICT
Defendant.

Civil Action No. 1:16-cv-00149

PLAINTIFFS ORIGINAL COMPLAINT


TO THE HONORABLE JUDGE OF SAID COURT:
NOW COMES Blake Ripple, An Incapacitated Person, Plaintiff herein, by and through his
next friend, natural mother and future Guardian of the Person and Estate, Lori Ripple,1 and brings
this his Plaintiffs Original Complaint, against the Marble Falls Independent School District
(Defendant herein) and would respectfully show this Court the following:
I. BRIEF REVIEW OF THE CASE
1.

The issue of protecting young men who play football has been of prime attention and concern
to educators all over the country including and especially those at the Texas Legislature, the
University Interscholastic League (UIL) and especially with members of the School Board
with the Marble Falls Independent School District. Notwithstanding this attention and
concern about maintaining the health of young athletes Coach Woerner and other staff with
the football team failed to pay necessary attention and concern to Blake Ripple, a high school

. Ripples Guardianship cause is pending but in the interim may operate as next friend
pursuant to Federal Rules Of Civil Procedure 17.
Plaintiffs Original Complaint

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student playing football at the Marble Falls Independent School District.


2.

Specifically, Ripple suffered numerous concussions or sub-concussions while under the


supervision and direction of Cord Woerner, Coach of the high school football team. Even
though Woerner and other staff knew that Plaintiff had been injured and was in a fragile
condition, Plaintiff continued to be put into situations in practice and in games that caused
severe injury to him.

3.

At one time Ripple was a National Honor Society Student and Academic All-District. At
one time was one of the highest rated lineman in the Central Texas area and was receiving
interest for scholarships from a number of Division I colleges. Now he is unable to live
independently, let alone go to college. Plaintiff has headaches and nausea and because of
his injuries and receives service from the Department of Assistive & Rehabilitative Services
(DARS) for services due to his long-term disabilities.

4.

Plaintiff believes the School District, Coach Woerner and his staff are responsible for his
injuries and damages, as more specifically described below. As such he brings forth claims
pursuant to for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C.
12101 and for violations of 20 U.S.C. 1681-1688, also known as Title IX, of the
Education Amendments of 1972. Such equitable and remedial actions pursuant to these acts
include, but are not limited to, damages, loss of opportunity, reimbursement of out-of-pocket
expenses, attorney fees and costs, as well as other forms of equitable and remedial relief.
II.

5.

JURISDICTION

Jurisdiction is conferred upon this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C.A. 1331 and 1343 because
the matters in controversy arise under the laws of the United States, including the Americans

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with Disabilities Act, and Title IX, and the federal regulations issued as to both, thereunder.
Further, this Court has jurisdiction to award attorneys fees and costs to the Plaintiff under
the ADA, Title IX, and also pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.
III. VENUE
6.

Under 28 U.S.C. 1391, venue is proper before this Court because the events and omissions
giving rise to the Plaintiffs claims occurred in the Western District of Texas, Austin
Division.
IV. CONDITIONS PRECEDENT AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXHAUSTION

7.

Administrative exhaustion has been completed in this case pursuant to the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1415(1) and 19 T.A.C. 89.1185(p).
V. PARTIES

8.

Blake Ripple is an incapacitated person and a resident of Granite Shoals, Burnet County,
Texas.

9.

His natural mother, and (pending) Guardian of the Person and Estate is Lori Ripple. She too
is a resident Granite Shoals, Burnet County, Texas.

10.

The Marble Falls Independent School District is a school district organized under the laws
of the State of Texas. At all times pertinent to this case, Plaintiff was a student at the
Marble Falls Independent School District. They may be served by and through their
Superintendent, Chris Allen, at 1800 Colt Circle, Marble Falls, Texas 78654. Plaintiff
reasonably believes that they will answer by and through their Counsel, Ms. Bridget
Robinson, with the law firm of Walsh, Anderson, Gallegos, Green, & Trevino, P.C., P.O.
Box 2156, Austin, Texas 78768.

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

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VI. STATEMENT OF FACTS


11.

Plaintiff was born on September 10, 1992. He played football at Marble Falls High School
for over three years from 2008 to 2010. Due to the severe head injuries and trauma he
suffered playing football at the Marble Falls High School Blake is now incapacitated. He has
received Supplementary Security Income (SSI) since late 2012 for his disabilities and his
conditioned has worsened since that time. He is now incapacitated and requires a Guardian.

A.

ABOUT THE MARBLE FALLS HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL PROGRAM

12.

At the time of the incidents in question Cord R. Woerner was both the Athletic Director for
the School District and Head Coach for High School Football Team. His responsibilities,
among other things, was to assure that the District adhered to State Law, rules promulgated
by the University Interscholastic League and duties required of him by the Marble Falls
Independent School District, Board of Directors, regard his role as Athletic Director and
Head Coach of the High School Football Team.

13.

Those specific and most relevant rules include but are not limited to complying with
applicable state laws regarding extracurricular activities, including and especially football
practice activities, general safety of student-athletes, concussion protocols after an incident,
medical protocols that need to be adhered to before a student with a concussion is permitted
to play again, assuring there are no dangerous practice activities or exercises, and that all
relevant medical and consent forms are filled out by participating payers and their families.

14.

Further, in regard to football helmets they were to be examined for reconditioning every year.
Further, any helmet given to a student should fit that students head.

15.

In regard to the Athletic Trainers at the school, which included Brandon Belk, the Athletic

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Director was to assure that they had extensive specialized training to assess any students
medical issues and injuries especially as to concussions and concussion protocols.
16.

The Athletic Trainer has many tasks, most relevant to this case, the duty to review the annual
Pre-participation Physical Examination which included two parts, a Medical History form
completed by the student and parent, and the Physical Examination form, completed by the
physician.

17.

Moreover, the School Board had a policy that when a student was injured either the student
or their family were to be given a Supplementary Insurance Form.

B.

ABOUT BLAKE RIPPLE AND IN THE INCIDENTS IN QUESTION

18.

Going into the 9th Grade, Blake had the necessary forms completed so he could play football.
On the Pre-participation Physical Evaluation and Medical History form submitted in August
of 2007, for his 9th grade school year, Blake reported experiencing racing or skipping of
heartbeats and having high blood pressure. He also answered yes to queries regarding
family history of having an enlarged heart, hypertrophiccardiomyopathy, long QT syndrome,
Marfans syndrome or abnormal heart rhythm.

19.

On August 4, 2007 Blake was cleared by his doctor to participate in athletic activities.
Nevertheless, the form requires an explanation for the affirmative response to any of the
issues noted above. However, no explanation was given and the school did not notice or
request such additional information from Blake or his doctor. Further, there is no signature
by any school official including and especially Brandon Belk, the Athletic Trainer for the
School District, that this form was ever actually reviewed by anyone.

20.

A year later and on or about August 1, 2008, Blake and his mother completed another Pre--

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participation Physical Evaluation and Medical History form, now for the 10th grade. In this
form Blake reported sustaining a medical illness or injury since his last check up.
Specifically he stated he had surgery and was experiencing chest pains during or after
exercise, getting tired more quickly than his friends during exercise, was experiencing racing
or skipping of heartbeats and having high blood pressure. He also reported having a family
member or relative die of heart problems or of sudden unexpected death before age 50,
having been denied or restricted from participation in sports by a physician for heart
problems, taking medications, having allergies, experiencing dizziness during or after
exercise and becoming ill from exercising in the heat, getting unexpectedly short of breath
with exercise. Again, there is no signature by any school official including and especially
Belk, that this form was reviewed.
21.

On August 1, 2008 Blake was again cleared by his doctor, Glenn Armen, M.D., for athletic
activities, though football was not specifically addressed. As noted above, the form also
requires an explanation for an affirmative response to any of the questions noted above.
Again, no explanation was given. Again the school did not notice or request such information
from Blake or his doctor. They permitted Plaintiff to play football in any case.

22.

On January 9, 2009 Blakes knee gave out. On the 14th the District completed a Notice of
Claim form from the The Hartford Bene-Marc Texas Student Accident Insurance Program.
Athletic Trainer Brandon Belk signed the claim form but it was received by Blake or his
parents. As such, it was never signed by Blake or his parents.

23.

Later that year and in the summer of 2009, or about July 31st , Blake and his mother
completed the annual Pre-participation Physical Evaluation and Medical History form for

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11th grade. On this form, Plaintiff again reported sustaining another medical illness or injury
since his last check up, undergoing surgery and having high blood pressure. Again, he noted
having a family member or relative die of heart problems or of sudden unexpected death
before age 50, sustaining a stinger, burner or pinched nerve, having allergies, having skin
problems, sustaining a sprain, strain or swelling after injury, sustaining a broken or fractured
bone or dislocated joint and having issues with pain or swelling in muscles, tendons, bones
or joints.
24.

Brandon Belk did in fact review this Medical History Form in August of 2009. Nevertheless,
there is no record of a further request by Belk or anyone regarding the burner or stinger or
any of the other items reported for the first time since the previous report.

25.

In the spring of each semester the football players are fit for football helmets to wear for the
next year. Blake does not remember exactly why, but he was not fitted for a helmet in the
spring of 2009, so when he returned to school for football practice in the summer of 2009,
he was given a helmet that did not fit him. . He did complain to the equipment manager, line
coaches and Belk about the problems and remembers specifically complaining that the
interior padding did not fit correctly. Nevertheless, the helmet was never replaced with one
that fit. Not surprisingly, Blake experienced two concussions that fall.

26.

Early in the Fall of 2009, Blake had what he now understands to a concussion about two
weeks before a game against Lampasas High School, where he did experience a major
concussion. He remembers that after the game his head was hurting so much that he told
Trainer Belk about the situation and asked for a Midol instead of a Tylenol. He told Belk his
head was pounding, was nauseous and was dizzy. Belk told Blake to lie down and take the

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medication, to see if would help. While Blake did not tell anyone that he thought he had a
concussion at that time, he does remember telling all his coaches that his head hurt, was
nauseous and had headaches.
27.

On October 23, 2009, Blake and his team were engaged in a goal line defense which elicited
helmet-to-helmet contact. Blake again experienced a serious head injury. Immediately after
the injury, he was unable to remember what happened, was unsteady on his feet, staggered,
and complained of nausea, dizziness, and a severe headache.

28.

His teammate, Jacob Cernosek, was on the sideline with the rest of the offense and backups
and saw Blake leave the field after this injury. Jacob saw Blake start to jog as he approached
him from the field of play, then slow to a walk. He saw him remove his helmet and saw him
drop his chin to his chest and raise his hand to rub the top of his head. He saw Blake grimace
and continue, now walking slowly, toward the sideline until he reached him.

29.

Blake spoke to Jacob when he reached the sideline and said, Man, my head is not right.
Jacob responded, telling him that he needed to see the trainer immediately. Jacob added that
head injuries can be serious and again directed him to see the trainer. Blake nodded his head,
stating that Jacob was right, that he would see the trainer and approached the trainer,
Brandon Belk.

30.

Blake told Belk that his head was pounding, his ears were ringing, was dizzy and nauseous
but he just walked away. Belk only briefly talked to Blake on the sidelines after the injury
and failed to render him any particular direction or aide. Belk did not continue to observe
Blake despite his statement that his head hurt really bad and that he was dizzy and
nauseous. In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Ripple also observed Blake approach the trainer and talk to

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him briefly before Belk walked away.


31.

Blake did have a concussion during the Lampasas game. He had what is termed a shearing
where the back of the neck shears the nerves in the brain. In any case, and after the game, the
Ripples expressed concerns for their sons head injury. Belk stated that Blake would be fine
after taking a shower.

32.

Doug Ripple, Blakes father then informed Coach Woerner that they needed to take Blake
to the hospital, who told Doug that Blake would probably be fine the next morning and that
he just needed a shower, Tylenol, a nap and would be fine. Nevertheless, the Ripples could
tell that something was seriously wrong and decided to take Blake to the ER. Woerner gave
Mr. Ripple his cell number and in a rather, cavalier manner said to call and let him know
how our boy was doing.

33.

At the hospital Blake received a cat scan which confirmed that he had suffered a concussion.
He was later sent home with orders to see his primary physician on Monday. There is no
evidence the Coach or Athletic Trainer, or anyone for that matter, ever asked for the hospital
report or required any other clearance before Blake could play again or for an updated
medical release.

34.

On October26th the District completed a Notice of Claim noting in the body of the form only
that Athlete was hit in the head, and was absolutely silent about the concussion. Belk
signed this claim form. The claim also requires a Parent/Guardian Certification Signature
yet none was obtained. Further, the District never notified Blake or his parents of the
insurance claim.

35.

After that injury Blake complained about headaches and nausea. He also experienced

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episodes where his right side would shake involuntarily, like a tremor. Because of these
symptoms, Blake did not play in the next two games but the Ripples kept school personnel
in the athletic department updated and informed throughout the semester. Again, the District
never requested medical records from his doctors or the hospital.
36.

At one point Dr. Buxton, one of Blakes physicians requested to see the helmet he had been
wearing so Blake went to the school to retrieve his helmet. When Blake was leaving the
locker room, he was stopped by Coach Kyle Futtrell who inquired as to what Blake was
doing with his helmet and was told he could not remove it. To Blakes knowledge, no one
from the school ever contacted Dr. Buxton about his desire to see the helmet or any other
issue regarding Blakes medical care.

37.

Blake received home-bound services on two occasions. First, on or about October 26, 2009,
when he returned to school after the concussion. At that time he was experiencing chronic
and severe headaches, nausea and vertigo which effected his ability to participate and attend
school. There were days that Mrs. Ripple had to go and pick him up because he did not feel
well. Not surprisingly, given these symptoms, Blake he also had trouble concentrating. Even
though Blake now should have been recognized as a student with a disability, this issue was
completely ignored by the District.

38.

On December 12, 2009, Blake was in a car that rolled over three times. Due to his recent
head injury he was transported to Seton Highland Lakes Hospital as a precaution. At the
hospital another cat scan was performed. Fortunately, the scan revealed no changes to his
brain from the previous concussion, but five nodules were found on his thyroid. No one
from the school ever requested any of this medical information either.

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39.

On March 12, 2010, Blake had surgery to remove the nodules from his thyroid. The school
did not request any medical records related to this surgery and Blakes family did not provide
any. After the surgery Blake continued to complain about being dizzy. He also experienced
frequent black outs and his headaches became progressively worse. At this time, he began
seeing Dr. Everett Heinze, M.D. After several appointments with Dr. Heinze, Blake was
referred Blake to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

40.

Lori Ripple informed multiple ISD staff and administration of Blakes continued medical
issues including the school principal and teachers, from Principal Eric Penrod to Assistant
Principal Allen Roberts. and Coach Woerner and Trainer Belk.

41.

Blake was seen and treated at the Mayo Clinic from May 18, 2010 until May 27, 2010.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic believe that Blake had an autonomic dysfunction brought on by
the head injuries Blake had experienced playing football. Blake was told that he could
eventually play football again, but that it would take some time before he could get back out
on the field. His doctors told him that it would take time and that he would have to take
baby steps and not push it.

42.

After returning home from the Mayo Clinic, Blake continued to see Dr. Heinze, locally, for
follow up care. Blake and his parents met with Coach Woerner before summer practice to
explain the limitations on his medical condition. The doctors said that Blake would have to
take it slow and not to run too much. He was to start out with light conditioning and by midseason he could possibly be back to full speed.

43.

On July 24, 2010, Blake and his mother completed the annual Pre-participation Physical
Evaluation and Medical History form for 12th grade. Again, he reported sustaining a medical

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illness or injury since his last check up, now three years in a row, being hospitalized
overnight in the past year, undergoing surgery and having high blood pressure. There were
also check marks regarding being diagnosed with a heart murmur, having a family member
or relative die of heart problems or of sudden unexpected death before age 50, sustaining a
head injury or concussion, being knocked out, being unconscious or losing memory and
having numbness in his arms, hands, legs or feet, and experiencing dizziness during or after
exercise and getting unexpectedly short of breath with exercise.
44.

Although Blake was, again, cleared by his doctor for athletic activities at this time, the form
requires an explanation for the affirmative response of any of the above noted questions.
However, no explanation was given on the form and the school did not notice or request such
from Blake or of his doctors. This failure is especially egregious because on this form, for
the very first time, Blake answered yes to queries regarding a concussion, being knocked
out, and losing unconsciousness or memory.

45.

Further, and while the physician did sign off on Blake being cleared for participation in
athletics, it does not state that he is cleared for full-contact football. More importantly, for
the very first time the doctor notes that Blakes pupils are unequal. No one for the school
signs the form.

46.

In the early part of his Senior season, after a scrimmage, he spoke with Belk and told him
that he had taken a hit to the head that caused a small headache, migraines and ringing in his
ears. Blake also told Belk that after every big hit his head would rattle, that his ears would
ring and get a headache and he thought had another concussion. All Belk did was ask Blake
if he needed anything, but never told Blakes parents.

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47.

During a practice in August 2010 of his Senior year, Blake ran so hard that he started to bleed
from his ears and nose. During that practice, the trainer, Belk observed Blake to vomit more
than once but only told him to stop running briefly. After practice, Blake told Belk that he
had experience a nosebleed and had bled from his ears. Blake reports that Belk told him to
go home and drink lots of fluids and to rest up for practice the next day. Blake remembers
he had a severe headache and had blood on his pillow the next morning. Knowing that he
would have to run more if he missed practice, he chose to go to school despite how he felt.

48.

After dropping him off at school and waiting for the doctors office to open, Blakes mother
called his doctor. After hearing her describe the above symptoms he urgently directed her to
get Blake to the Emergency Room. By the time he reached the ER, Blakes headache was
even worse. Blake and his mother were told that he was severely dehydrated and he
ultimately required at least two bags of fluid and first Fentanyl, then Demerol, and finally,
Morphine to get his pain under control.

49.

Lori again informed Coach Woerner of Blakes medical limitations and that Dr. Heinze did
not believe that he would be ready to play again until mid-season. They recommended he
start out with very light conditioning, not even running. With mid-season as the goal, he was
to begin with walking then would build up to running but they were not sure he would reach
the mid-season goal. Again, no one from the school requested any medical records from the
ER or an updated medical form or release form. Again, and at that time, Blake should have
been recognized as a student with a disability.

50.

At this time of the school year, the initial four (4) days of practice were shirts and
helmets,and then the players transitioned to practicing in full pads. Blake continued to

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vomit multiple times every day and the trainer, Belk, delayed Blake from practicing in pads
a few occasions. Woerner nevertheless approached Blake to remind him that the upcoming
Saturday was an inner-squad scrimmage that was to be followed soon after by a scrimmage
against another team. He stressed that anyone who could participate in these scrimmages had
to have practiced a certain number of days in pads. He also told Blake explicitly that he
could not play in the scrimmages unless he got into pads, soon, despite knowing Blakes
medical limitations. Further, Belk had informed Mrs. Ripple that Blake was not going to
participate in the scrimmage, so they decided they had no reason to attend.
51.

Despite Woerners receiving frequent reminders of Blakes medical condition and


diminished physical and mental abilities, Woerner permitted and even coerced Blake to
participate in numerous drills with excessive physical exercises. In fact, after he manipulated
Blake to participate in the requisite number of full pad drills so he could be in the scrimmage,
not surprisingly Blake again suffered injuries.

52.

About a week after Blake spoke with Belk they had another conversation after a practice.
Belk asked if the hits were getting any worse, and Blake said they were about the same. At
that time Blake was having a constant headache and his ears were ringing all the time. Belk
did not the Blakes parents.

53.

Over the course of three (3) years Blake participated in numerous practices. The team was
instructed, consistently, to drop their heads when tackling an opposing player. This was really
another way of saying to spear when tackling. In addition, Coach Woerner would always
tell them to trade hats with the opposing teams player, which was another way of saying
to have helmet-to-helmet contact. On at least one occasion Blake complained to the coach

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about how he was feeling after helmet-to-helmet hits.


54.

On September 10, 2010 Blake turned eighteen years old. He never signed any forms with
the physical education department or football team in particular so he could participate in
football or release or waive any claims of injuries or sign a notice about concussions.

55.

In addition, due to the intervening medical treatments the medical history with a physical
exam from July was no longer timely and required an update, but no one with the District
attempted to get an update.

56.

As noted above, Blake had hoped to work up his strength slowly to be able to play football
but during his Senior year of high school, he still complained of and experienced headaches,
nausea, vertigo, and loss of sensation on the left side of his body. Nevertheless, he spent a
lot of time on the field and would at times play offense. As the team was believed to be able
to make it to the playoffs, Woerner put an excessive amount of pressure upon Blake to both
practice and play, notwithstanding his now obvious medical limitations.

57.

Blake recalls numerous times where he would come off of the field and tell his coaches or
trainers that he had a headache. Blake was told not to let his team down and that he had to
get back out on the field.

58.

During one game in his Senior season Blake also remembers that he had a blackout and told
Belk that his head was really hurting and that his ears were ringing really badly. Belk told
to him rest for the rest of the game and while on the sideline he fell asleep, woke up and then
blacked out again. Belk never discussed this incident with Blakes parents.

59.

On March 28, 2011, Blake had surgery to remove his enlarged tonsils. He continued to
experience and complain of, as he had before, headaches, nausea, and vertigo. He became

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exceedingly more ill and was unable to go back to school. Blake was so disabled at this time
that he was placed on homebound educational services. Blake remained in Homebound
Services until he was able to graduate.
60.

There is no documentation that Blake ever received a form acknowledging his receipt of
information regarding concussions.

61.

There is no documentation that Blake ever received information from the district regarding
concussions and the prevention, symptoms and treatment of them.

62.

Since Blake has left school he has learned that the School District could have easily provided
him greater protection and accommodation to his head injuries, especially in regard to how
important is, a well-fitting helmet.

63.

They never assessed or provided him a helmet that was specifically made for his head.

64.

They never assessed or provided him extra padding for the helmet.

65.

He was never assessed or provided a cap to put over the helmet to help protect him. Rather
he wore the same type of helmet given to all the other players that did not have a history of
a concussion or the other medical problems experienced.

66.

In addition, he was never assessed or provided a special chin-strap that also is especially
developed for athletes who have had head injuries.

67.

Moreover, he was never assessed or provided special shoulder pads that also are especially
developed for athletes who have had head injuries.

68.

Blake Ripple, as male athlete was treated significantly different than any female athlete, who
has experienced the same or any similar injuries.

69.

During the better part of his high school career Blake expected to go to college. Now he

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cannot even attend college on any basis. In fact he cannot read for extensive periods of
time without experiencing severe headaches.
70.

In his junior year he qualified as one of the best lineman in the greater Austin area for the
linemen's challenge, yet now he cannot even walk well.

71.

In November of 2012 he received a designation of permanently disabled with the Social


Security Administration and is now the recipient of Supplementary Security Income (SSI).

72.

At this time, Blake is unable to live independently.

73.

He requires a guardian to assist him in making personal and estate related decisions.

74.

He continues to experienced the following symptoms on a daily basis; headaches, nausea,


dizziness, vertigo, vision is impaired and memory. He has issues with blood pressure and
heart rate. He has a hernia that cant be operated on because of his frequent vomiting. Blake
also has issues with gastric ulcers ane esophageal tears because of the violent vomiting

75.

He can read but struggles with attention and focusing. When not impaired walking is
difficult. He is light sensitive and loud sounds bother him. He basically stays at home by
himself except for visiting the physician or family. All of his peers have moved on, and
about a half-dozen played in college and one are even in the National Football League.
VII. STATE ACTION

76.

Plaintiff incorporate by reference all the above-related paragraphs with the same force and
effect as if herein set forth.

77.

The School District Defendants were at all times and in all matters acting under color of state
law when they permitted Plaintiff to be subjected to the wrongs and injuries set forth herein.

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VIII. CLAIMS UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT


78.

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above related paragraphs with the same force and
effect as if herein set forth. In addition, and in the alternative to the above, the facts as
previously described also demonstrate violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42
U.S.C. 12131, et seq (ADA).

79.

Title II of The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits any local government or
department thereof from denying the benefits of their services or discriminating against any
person with a disability.

80.

Plaintiff is a qualified individual with a disability as defined in 42 U.S.C. 12131(2).

81.

At all times pertinent hereto, Defendant Marble Falls Independent School District was a local
governmental entity within the purview of The Americans with Disabilities Act and was a
recipient of federal financial assistance as established in the Rehabilitation Act. The
Marble Falls Independent School District is considered a public entity as defined in 42
U.S.C. 12131(1), and receives federal financial assistance so as to be covered by the
mandate of the ADA.

82.

The Marble Falls Independent School Districts schools are facilities, and their operation
constitutes a program and services for ADA purposes.

83.

Defendant School District, by and through its agents, employees and servants, including, but
not limited to, Defendant Woerner, violated Plaintiffs federally guaranteed right to be free
from discrimination on the basis of disability by failing to make reasonable accommodations
and modifications to its programs, and by failing to train and/or educate its agents, employees
and servants on the needs of students with disabilities such as Plaintiff.

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

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84.

Moreover, the aforesaid Defendants failed to implement policies, practices and procedures
to accommodate the needs of students with disabilities such as Plaintiff.

85.

Such actions and/or inactions by the aforesaid Defendants were tantamount to intentional
discrimination of the Plaintiff based upon his disability.

86.

The Marble Falls Independent School District failed and refused to reasonably accommodate
Plaintiff in violation of Title II of the ADA.

87.

The Marble Falls Independent School District failed and refused to reasonably modify its
services and environment for Plaintiff in violation of Title II of the ADA.
IX. CLAIMS PURSUANT TO 20 U.S.C. 1681-1688 AND TITLE IX OF THE
EDUCATION AMENDMENTS ACT OF 1972

88.

Plaintiffs incorporate by reference all the above related paragraphs above with the same force
and effect as if herein set forth.

89.

In addition and in the alternative to Plaintiffs above claims, Plaintiffs contend the School
District, acting under color of law and acting pursuant to customs and policies of the district,
deprived Blakes rights and privileges secured to him by Title IX of the Education
Amendments Act of 1972 and by other laws of the United States by discriminating against
him on the basis of gender and gender stereotypes.

90.

The acts and omissions of the school district deprived him of his right to not be denied the
benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity
receiving Federal financial assistance, on the basis of his sex or gender stereotypes for which
the School District Defendant is liable to him pursuant to 20 U.S.C 1681-1688 for
compensatory damages.

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

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Case 1:16-cv-00149 Document 1 Filed 02/17/16 Page 20 of 22

X. PROXIMATE CAUSE
91.

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all allegations in the above related paragraphs with the
same force and effect as if herein set forth. Each and every, all and singular of the foregoing
acts and omissions, on the part of the Marble Falls Independent School District, taken
separately and/or collectively, jointly and severally, constitute a direct and proximate cause
of the injuries and damages set forth herein.
XI. RATIFICATION

92.

The Marble Falls Independent School District, Defendant, ratified the acts, omissions and
customs of all school administrators, educators, personnel, staff and agents. As a result, the
Defendant is responsible for the acts and omissions of all school administrators, educators,
personnel, staff and agents.
XII. DAMAGES

93.

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above related paragraphs, as if fully set forth
herein.

94.

As a direct and proximate result of the Defendants' conduct, Plaintiff has suffered injuries
and damages, which he may seek compensation thereby, all within the jurisdictional limits
of this court, including but not limited to the following:
a.

Aggravation of a pre-existing condition;

b.

Past mental anguish;

c.

Future mental anguish;

d.

Loss of opportunity;

e.

Loss of companionship;

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

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Case 1:16-cv-00149 Document 1 Filed 02/17/16 Page 21 of 22

95.

f.

Loss of future wages;

g.

Past medical expenses;

h.

Future medical expenses;

i.

Loss of earning capacity; and

j.

Injury to reputation.

By reason of the above, the subject of this lawsuit, Plaintiff has suffered losses and damages
in a sum within the jurisdictional limits of the Court and for which this lawsuit is brought.
XIII. LIMITATIONS

96.

Plaintiff reasonably believes that Defendant will argue that all or part of his claim is barred
by the operative statute of limitations. In response, Plaintiff represents that his claims are
tolled pursuant to the Texas Civil Practices & Remedies Code, Section 16.001(a).
XIV. ATTORNEYS FEES

97.

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all of the above related paragraphs, as if fully set forth
herein.

98.

It was necessary for Plaintiff to hire the undersigned attorneys to file this lawsuit. Upon
judgment, Plaintiff is entitled to an award of attorney fees and costs pursuant to the ADA and
42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.
XV. DEMAND FOR A JURY TRIAL

99.

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 38(b), Plaintiff demands a jury trial for all issues
in this matter.

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

21

Case 1:16-cv-00149 Document 1 Filed 02/17/16 Page 22 of 22

PRAYER
WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff prays in the manner and particulars
noted above, and in an amount sufficient to fully compensate him for the elements of damages
enumerated above, judgment for damages, recovery of attorneys fees and costs for the preparation
and trial of this cause of action, and for its appeal if required, pursuant to Section 504, the ADA,
Title IX and 42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq., together with pre- and post-judgment interest, and court costs
expended herein and for such other further relief as the Court may deem just and proper in law or
in equity.
Respectfully submitted,
Cirkiel & Associates, P.C.
/s/ Martin J. Cirkiel
Mr. Martin J. Cirkiel, Esq.
State Bar No.: 00783829
Southern District Fed. ID.# 21488
1901 E. Palm Valley Boulevard
Round Rock, Texas 78664
(512) 244-6658 [Telephone]
(512) 244-6014 [Facsimile]
marty@cirkielaw.com [Email]
Mr. Donald G. Henslee, Esq.
Law Offices of Donald G. Henslee
901 Mopac Expressway South
Barton oaks Plaza One, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78746
(512) 320-9177 [Telephone]
(512) 320-9178 [Facsimile]
dhenslee@school-law.co [Email]
ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFF

Plaintiffs Original Complaint

22