A possible settlement in a civil case involving a Kansas University student who fell from the roof of a home in the Oread neighborhood could be off the table.
The parents of Sara Driessel filed the lawsuit more than two years ago, after their daughter suffered debilitating injuries when she fell from a rooftop porch in October 2004 at a home at 1045 Tenn.
The Driessels are suing the owners of the home, David and Misti Jones, of Lake Quivira, as well as their son Kyle, who lived in the house with several other KU students.
City officials determined the walkout rooftop porch that the 18-year-old freshman fell from was not up to code because there was no railing around it. Court records indicate Sara Driessel's blood-alcohol content shortly after the fall was 0.241, which is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08.
An attorney for the Driessels has indicated Sara's future medical costs could soar into the eight-figure range, but according to a defendants' motion filed in Douglas County District Court, both sides had agreed to settle the case for $552,000.
However, that settlement was contingent on Beth Driessel's being allowed to make a statement in front of the Jones family in court regarding her daughter's injuries and what effect the incident has had on her family.
"My clients do not have any intent to insult or berate the Joneses, but they do feel they should be provided the opportunity to express their loss in the Jones' presence," the Driessels' attorney Pat Miller wrote in a letter in the court file.
Beth Driessel had planned to read a seven-page statement at a court hearing Friday but the defendants object to her making any statements suggesting the Joneses were at fault or to blame for the accident. That's where the two sides have reached a stalemate.
"Ms. Driessel is unwilling to proceed with the settlement under any circumstances that do not allow her to make her statement, unedited," Miller wrote in a July 18 letter to the defendants' attorney. "Our settlement proposal contemplated the Joneses hearing what my client has to say for approximately 30 minutes."
The defendants' attorney has asked the judge to enforce the settlement agreement and limit the statements Beth Driessel could make.