Lawsuit Claims Teen Died After Gaithersburg High Gym Teacher Denied Request for Inhaler

Mother of student accuses Montgomery County school officials of negligence


Published:

Taylor Walton

Walton family

A Gaithersburg woman has filed a lawsuit that faults the Montgomery County school system for her daughter’s death in 2015 after an asthma attack in gym class.

The federal complaint lodged Tuesday claims that Taylor Walton started having trouble breathing during her Gaithersburg High School gym class on Nov. 30, 2015, and asked permission to get her inhaler out of her locker. Her gym teacher wouldn’t let her leave class, according to the court filing.

The teacher, who isn’t named in the lawsuit, refused her request a second time before finally letting her out of the gymnasium, the complaint stated. A short time later, a school employee found Taylor collapsed on the floor outside the gym, according to the documents.

School nurses began administering artificial respiration to Taylor, who “appeared unconscious and nearly dead” the complaint stated. Arriving rescue workers also tried to revive Taylor, but she was pronounced dead at Shady Grove hospital, according to the lawsuit. She was 14 years old when she died, according to her mother’s attorney.

The attorney, Jay Dorsey, said he is trying to obtain school camera footage that will shed light on the sequence of events.

"When a child is in the school district, from the time they get there, the school is responsible for their safety," Dorsey said.

NBC4 Washington first reported on the lawsuit on Friday.

The complaint takes aim at the Montgomery County Board of Education, Gaithersburg High School and the gym teacher and charges the defendants with gross negligence, violating Taylor’s civil rights and negligence in hiring and supervising employees.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesman Derek Turner said the school system does not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit states that Taylor’s mother, Georgia Grant-Walton, is seeking $10 million in damages on each count. She is also requesting $400,000 for her daughter’s pain and suffering and the loss of income from having her life cut short. 

“The actions or omissions of the Defendant Board and its staff … breached the duty owed Taylor. Each individual breach by the Board and staff, or in concert with each other, was a substantial factor in proximately causing injury and then death of Taylor,” the suit stated.

The lawsuit states that Gaithersburg High School employees were notified of Taylor’s asthma when the teen enrolled in August 2015. Taylor used her inhaler to control an October 2015 asthma attack that happened in gym class in front of her teacher, the filing reported.

The parents of a high school football player sued the Montgomery County school board in 2012 in connection with their son's death. The 16-year-old student at Northwest High School in Germantown collapsed during football practice in 2009 and died four days later of heat stroke, according to a Washington Examiner article.

The player's family said the suit had been dropped, according to NBC's report on the new lawsuit.

Back to Bethesda Beat

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Articles

Fire Causes Evacuation of Gaithersburg Apartment Building; 12 Residents Displaced

Discarded smoking materials considered the likely cause

Hogan Details Amazon Incentive Package Proposal

Maryland governor is proposing legislation to create $ 5 billion-plus offer to attract company to Montgomery County

Hogan’s Offer to Amazon Among the Most Generous; Lawmaker Pushes for Speed Limit Increase for I-270, I-495

News, announcements and other helpful links for Monday morning

School Notes: Former Child Soldier Speaks, Performs Music at Einstein in Kensington

Plus: Local student to be featured at national education conference; registration open for education forum
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »

Elegant French Colonial

Potomac, $1,425,000

Breathtaking Views

Chevy Chase, $2,500,000

Historic Gem

Washington, DC, $2,436,336

New Construction

Bethesda, $1,599,000

Luxury Condo

Bethesda, $1,390,000
Edit Module

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading
Local Professionals

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit Module