The girl who was stabbed in North Tonawanda High School last September has indicated she may sue the school system and the City of North Tonawanda for the injuries.
The notice of claim filed on behalf of Erica L. Panek is the first step needed for a lawsuit and gives her up to a year to file suit, Buffalo attorney Terrence Connors said Friday.
Erica, 15, of Linwood Avenue, required several hours of surgery and more than 150 stitches to close wounds in her neck, arm, chest and back after being knifed in the hallway of the high school as several horrified students and teachers looked on.
Sandy L. George, 15, of 16th Street was charged with first-degree assault. Her lawyers are attempting to have the case moved from North Tonawanda City Court to Family Court, where she would be charged as a juvenile and her case sealed. Until then, her case is scheduled to proceed Jan. 3 in City Court.
Under state law, Erica's notice of claim had to be filed within 90 days of the stabbing. Connors confirmed Friday that the notice will allow Erica to seek unspecified damages for physical and emotional scars from the attack.
The notice contends that school officials had allowed the other girl to remain in the school despite having information that she was prone to violent behavior. It also alleges the school failed to protect its students from an unreasonably dangerous condition and that proper steps were not taken to prevent students from leaving the school grounds during school hours.
Sandy is accused of leaving the school, then returning with a knife to stab Erica.
Connors said Erica's family also is considering suing Sandy and her family.
North Tonawanda School Superintendent John George, who is not related to Sandy, said Friday he had no comment about the notice of claim.
City Attorney Jeffrey N. Mis argued that the plaintiff lacked grounds for suing the city.
"The city is a separate entity from the School District and the School Board," he said. "I don't see North Tonawanda having any liability in this matter."