By April Barbe

Great documentation and good employees is what local attorney Ricky Richards attributes as the reason Jacksonville Independent School District will be receiving $158,000 in reimbursements by the end of February.

JISD won a lawsuit against companies responsible for damages as Nichols Intermediate School, Dec. 28, 2004.

“They had hired this company to come in during the Christmas holidays and work on the sprinklers, but one of the sprinkler heads came off and flooded part of the school,” Richards said.

The flooding occurred on the second floor, causing JISD officials to call staff to the school during the holiday break to clean up and access the damage.

“Dean Horn, who worked for the district had locked up for the day and went to a doctor’s appointment. But after the appointment, even though it was the holiday break, he went back to check on things,” Richards said. “The local police had just pulled up because someone had heard the sirens, and Mr. Horn opened the doors and immediately knew there was a problem.”

According to Richards, it was the last sprinkler head installed for the day which broke. He said the company, Simplexgrinnell denied having any connection to the job which the district hired them to do.

However, video surveillance showed the workers going into the vicinity of the repairs and proved they were the last to enter the area before the incident occurred, according to Richards.

“It was just a question of whether it was a faulty part or if it had been improperly installed, and it was decided that the sprinkler head had been handled roughly,” Richards said.

The case began at the Cherokee County Courthouse but was moved up to the United States District Court (Eastern District) in Tyler.

The sum of $158,389.73 was ruled to be paid to the district by Simplexgrinnell, Mid South Fire Protection Inc., Central Sprinkler Company, Tyco Fire Products LP, Cole Sampley and Fred Bald.

Almost $2,100 of the damages occurred to teachers’ personal property, according to Richards.

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