Details of the incident, which led to the closing of Wyalusing Academy in Prairie du Chien last month, continue to be revealed with the filing of a civil court action. The lawsuit is being brought on behalf of an allegedly injured 15-year-old former resident of the institution and his mother Kathleen Faichney, of Dike, Iowa.
Documents, including a civil case summons, were filed in Crawford County Circuit Court on Tuesday, Nov. 19. Although the former Wyalusing Academy resident involved in the suit is referred to in the court documents only by the initials BC, his father, Aaron Chrisp, revealed his identity as Brandon Chrisp in a Wisconsin State Journal story last week.
Brandon Chrisp is alleged to have been injured by staff trying to restrain him during an incident on June 24 and 25 at Wyalusing Academy, according to the court documents filed last month. The 15 year old is currently residing and receiving treatment at Lakeview Specialty Hospital and Rehabilitation Center in Waterford, Wisconsin with spinal injuries leaving the youth paralyzed from mid-chest down, according to court filing.
The civil lawsuit alleges the injuries are the result of a spinal fracture and spinal cord injury resulting from the Wyalusing Academy’s wrongful actions and inactions.
“It’s a pretty hard situation. Brandon loves basketball, and I have to tell my son he probably won’t be able to play again,” Aaron Chrisp told the Wisconsin State Journal. “The chances of him walking again are slim to none.”
Chrisp had been Wyalusing Academy for less than a week when the injury occurred, according to his father.
In the amended license revocation detailing the state’s investigation of the incident, Wisconsin Department of Children and Families noted the injury occurred due to improperly administered physical holds.
Three staff members performed three restraints at 9 a.m. on June 24. Chrisp was then placed in a “re-group room,” the state records indicate. Wyalusing Academy policy required the resident be given a wellness check within one hour of the incident and not be left in the “re-group room” for more than one hour without supervisory approval.
An hour-and-a-half later, without either, Chrisp was assisted to a “time-out area.”
Chrisp was later left lying on two separate hard floors for the night, without pillow, blanket, or bedding, according to state records.
DCF’s letter to Clinicare Corporation states that one of the staff involved in the initial incident reported to the DCF’s Licensing Division that he told nursing staff that Chrisp had reported his legs hurt and were numb immediately following the incident.
Chrisp was not given medical care until 10 a.m. on June 25, more than 24 hours after the incident occurred, according to the DCF.
The civil court summons filed on behalf of Brandon Chrisp and Kathleen Faichney named Clinicare Corporation, Wyalusing Academy, Clinicare CEO David W. Fritsch and ABC Insurance Company as defendants.
The plaintiffs allege Chrisp has suffered permanent injuries including, but not limited to, a spinal fracture and spinal cord injury, which has paralyzed the teen from the mid-chest down. The plaintiffs also allege that Chrisp has and will continue to require extensive and costly care, treatment and rehabilitation, as the direct and proximate result of the defendant’s actions and inactions.
The civil case summons lists numerous counts against the defendants including, assault, battery, negligence and gross negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and the loss of aid, comfort, society companionship and enjoyment of raising Brandon Chrisp of which Karen Faichney was deprived.
The summons also mentions the plaintiffs’ intention to recover attorney fees and as the other costs, as well as to seek punitive damages to punish the defendants and deter future behavior by the defendants in similar circumstances.
On each of the counts, the summons noted the amount of damages suffered would be determined at trial.
Clinicare Corporation owns and operated Wyalusing Academy. They also operate Eau Claire Academy, located in that city, Milwaukee Academy, located in that city, Auburn Lake Academy, located in Victoria, Minn., and Aurora Plains Academy, located in Plankinton, South Dakota.
Attorney Michael D. Schwartz has made a motion to serve as Chrisp’s guardian ad litem. Attorneys John Walker and Ray Walton from the firm Beecher, Field, Walker, Morris, Hoffman and Johnson P.C. Law Firm have joined the legal team working for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs have 45 days to answer the summons.
Wyalusing Academy opened in 1969 as a residential treatment facility. Employing 144 people at the time of license revocation, it served approximately 70 residents primarily from Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. Most residents were placed there by their county human services departments who have now placed them in other facilities.