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posted: 4/17/2013 6:17 PM

Elgin Catholic high school settles lawsuit stemming from stairwell fall

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A former St. Edward Central Catholic High School student has settled a lawsuit against the school and Rockford Diocese seeking damages after she fell down a stairwell in November 2006.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed in the court file.

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Alyssa DiGilio, of West Dundee, was 15 when she fell over a railing at the school. Her attorney declined to comment.

DiGilio filed the lawsuit in 2011. In the suit, attorney Scott Falkenberg argued the school was negligent and responsible for her injuries and more than $50,000 in damages.

"She turned to talk to a friend, lost her balance and flipped over the handrail adjacent to the stairs and fell to the basement level," according to the suit, which also said the rail was not built to code.

Kane County Judge James Murphy approved the order last week to dismiss the lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled in the future.

Greg Snyder, an attorney for the school and the diocese, said neither party was at fault in the fall. He declined to specify how much the district paid DiGilio, but noted it was to help her and her family with medical bills for a back injury.

"The railing did comply with the code when it was built," Snyder said. "We decided to settle the case in an effort to try and help her and her family defray some of the medical costs from the incident. We wish her nothing but the best. She's a fine, fine young lady. She appears to have recovered."

During the two years the case was litigated, Thomas Boswell, an attorney for the diocese, did argue in previous court filing that DiGilio was negligent in failing to take the necessary steps to prevent falling and that the diocese and school should only assume 50 percent of damages -- if any were awarded.

Boswell also suggested that DiGilio "placed her buttocks upon the handrail of the stairway and slid along the handrail, rather than using her hands on the handrail to prevent her fall, when she knew or should have know(n) that her failure to properly use the handrail could result in injury to herself," according to court records.

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