NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — A judge said Friday he was not yet ready to make a decision on a lawsuit filed by a Newport News first grade teacher shot by her 6-year-old student.
Zwerner, her arm in a sling, was supported by her family as she walked into court Friday. She made no comments to reporters.
The former first grade teacher was shot in her classroom on January 6 of this year. She filed the lawsuit in April.
In court, her attorneys argued that while her injury happened in a workplace, it is not a workplace injury.
The Newport News School Board argued that her injury happened as a hazard of her job, so she should be entitled to workplace compensation, and not her $40 million lawsuit against the school board.
“Obviously, that’s insulting,” said Diane Toscano, one of Zwerner’s lawyers.
Workers’ compensation would entitle Abby Zwerner to 10 years of a partial salary and payment of her medical bills for the rest of her life.
Zwerner’s legal team argued that her injury being the result of a gun changes the calculus.
“The gun does make a difference. I mean I think the reason you all are here (reporters) is because it’s a gun. If there was a paper clip that was thrown at a teacher in Newport News or Richneck Elementary, I wouldn’t have five cameras in my face right now,” said Kevin Biniazan, another attorney for Zwerner.
“We feel like we made a very strong argument today in front of the judge. He was listening very closely, and we’re looking forward to getting the ruling next week,” Toscano said.
The judge said he will offer a written opinion in about a week.
With the exception of one network television interview earlier this year, Zwerner has yet to speak publicly about what happened to her. Outside the courtroom on Friday, she smiled at reporters without saying a word.
“It’s an overwhelming moment for her, I think we have to appreciate that. It’s all culminating in some ways on today, so as much as Abby may have thoughts and comments swirling around in her head probably faster than she can articulate them, I hope you’ll excuse her to speak through us,” Biniazan said.
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