rial lawyers Daniel Thomas and Jonathan Soper were recently honored during the 2013 Missouri Lawyers Awards for winning a landmark “bullycide” case against a Missouri school district that allowed one of its students to be bullied.
The attorneys were named “Legal Champions” by Missouri Lawyers Weekly after taking on the Blue Springs School District for allowing 12-year-old Brandon Myers to be bullied by his peers. The boy hanged himself after relentless harassment from his classmates over his cleft palate and speech problems.
“It was a very difficult case,” said Danny Thomas, a partner at the Independence law firm of Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. “Up until recently, I would say it’s probably one of the most difficult cases of my career.”
Although the financial portion of the settlement is confidential, this was the largest bullycide case settlement in the history of the country. Brandon’s family hopes this case encourages schools across the country to be more proactive in addressing bullying.
As part of the settlement, the school district established a bullying awareness day. It has also been reported that the school district will soon announce a $20 million safety program. One of the bullies’ parents also wrote a letter of apology for condoning the harassment.
The Blue Springs School District will also train its staff on how to properly deal with bullying. Brandon’s parents encouraged him to tell school officials about the bullying and a teacher responded by telling Brandon to “stop being a tattletale.” Brandon’s parents say that this rebuke made their son feel helpless and was a factor in his eventual suicide.
This is one of many recent high-profile victories for the attorneys at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain. The firm has developed a reputation for its aggressive litigation strategy and taking cases that other law firms refuse.
“These are very difficult lawsuits to take all the way to the courthouse steps. And that’s what makes it landmark,” Danny Thomas said, adding that the school district refused to settle until the eve of the trial.
Both Danny and his associate Jonathan Soper are parents, which is one reason why they became so heavily invested in the case.
“We always say we’re not supposed to get emotionally involved in our cases, and to an extent we try not to, but this one was personal,” Jonathan Soper said. “My first child was born during this case, and I felt a connection this family and to Brandon.”
Both Thomas and Soper are graduates of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law and exclusively litigate cases involving catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. Since 1984, the legal team at Humphrey, Farrington & McClain has recovered more than $1 billion on behalf of their clients and routinely achieves some of the largest jury verdicts and settlements in the country.