Kodi Braden Pipes' family believes justice was served when a jury ruled in their favor in a wrongful death case against Clay Community School Corporation Thursday afternoon.
On Nov. 19, 2003, Pipes collapsed while shooting free throws at eighth-grade basketball practice at Clay City Jr.-Sr. High School. Although CPR was administered immediately, Pipes was pronounced dead after being transported to the emergency room of St. Vincent Clay Hospital.
Autopsy reports performed by Forensic Pathologist Dr. Roland Kohr determined Pipes died of post-myocarditis with myocardopathy. At the time, the coroner said the condition, which is a weakening of the structure of the heart, would be impossible to determine why Pipes died from it.
"I hope this sends a message to schools to take kids with medical conditions seriously. Kodi had an episode two days before this incident and the school should have made sure that he had medical clearance before going back to practice," Attorney Richard A. Waples said after the decision for his clients was announced. "This was an unfortunate and tragic incident. Hopefully we can learn from it."
It took three hours for the jury members to award a $425,000 judgment in favor of Pipes' parents, which was divided between his mother, Ronna Timberman, ($250,000) and his father, John Pipes II ($175,000).
Unable to explain all the emotions she was feeling about the decision, Timberman agreed with her attorney.
"Justice was served today for Kodi Braden Pipes. This was a long time coming. Teachers should take precautions in cases like this because something can happen," Timberman said.
"I don't want something like this to happen to anyone again."
Pipes' parents filed the wrongful death case against the Clay Community School Corporation in August 2006. With Special Judge Matthew L. Headley, from Putnam County, presiding, testimony in the case began Monday.
Superintendent Dan Schroeder, who was not with the school corporation at the time of the 2003 incident, felt he was unable to comment on the judgment and referred all questions to the corporation's attorney, William H. Kelley.
Attempts to contact Kelley at his Indianapolis office were not returned before press time.
Brazil Times' Staff Reporter Jason Jacobs contributed to this report.