Teenager Sues After He and Friends Clamp Electrical Cord to His Nipples and Plug It In

A New Hampshire high school student and his parents are suing their school district, the city of Dover, and a former shop class teacher, Thomas Kelley, after the student was shocked and severely injured by an electrical cord in “trades class.” The student, Kyle Dubois, reportedly had friends clamp the electrical cord to his nipples before being shocked. However, they claim that Kelley encouraged such dangerous antics in class.

The incident occurred on March 11th and two friends attached the cord to Dubois’ nipples while a third plugged it in. Dubois then sued the teacher and school for negligence in the starting shock, which temporarily stopped his heart. He suffered permanent brain damage.

Kelley resigned from his teaching position about a month after the incident.

The family alleges that Kelley encouraged Dubois to shock himself and offered anyone a Mountain Dew if they did so. The lawsuit also alleges that Kelley was only eight feet away and saw them fooling around with the cord. Notably, however, they do not appear to have included the other two students as defendants.

In an interview, Kelley insisted “I was talking up my fantasy baseball team with one student and the next thing I know there was a commotion,. I look and I hear an Ouch.’ I look and there’s Kyle going to the ground.” Of course, it is probably not a good idea to be “talking up fantasy baseball teams” with kids messing around with electrical cords.

On the other side of the case, this was a teenager who was old enough to know that he would be shocked and willingly engaged in this foolish conduct. Under a contributory negligence jurisdiction, he would be entirely barred. However, most states are now either pure or modified comparative negligence jurisdictions. I believe New Hampshire is a modified comparative fault state where you are barred if you are 51% or more at fault. That could still be a problem here. Even if you are 50% or less at fault, your recovery is reduced by your degree of fault.

The article refers to Dubois as 18 years old, which would take him out of the category of a minor presumably, but that may also be an issue.

This could be an interesting case on the comparative negligence and assumption of the risk issues.

Source: Union Leader

Jonathan Turley

9 thoughts on “Teenager Sues After He and Friends Clamp Electrical Cord to His Nipples and Plug It In”

  1. Alright so first of all I see everyone calling this guy a kid…… He’s 18 years old, anywhere else in the world I think that makes him an adult. I agree with dawn, this guy had to have had some sort of brain injury before this event occurred…. I mean who is seriously stupid enough not to know that when you jumper your nipples your gonna electrocute yourself. I’m sorry but what this seems like to me is that this guy already knew what was gonna happen and his buddies bet him he couldn’t do it. I will buy that he didn’t realize the potential for injury. Once he got into the hospital and mommmy and daddy saw the bill their poor baby was wracking up and they had no way to pay for it they decided to go after someone who could. I’m sorry but the parents should do everyone a favor and ship that guy to Texas, and make sure that they don’t forget to include his government papers declaring him legally retarded

  2. This case is just one large grouping of stupid people! I don’t know if the student’s negligence goes beyond 50%,but it is close to it. You have to be certifiable to think it is a good idea to clip electical wires to your nipples. This reminds of the “you tube” videos of kids shooting bottle rockets out of their asses. This is similar stupidity.

  3. Question.
    Why did they have access to a cord that his its Pos and Neg lines exposed?

    That would seem to me to be the real issue.

    I do agree with the other commenters that this young man sounds like he was not competent to be around potentiality dangerous equipment in the first place.

    Why is there not a reasonable assumption that the the teaching, of right and wrong and of the basic dangers that all children would be likely to encounter, is the responsibility of the parents?

    I work in a hospital lab, we get half a day’s lecturing, videos, power points during orientation, and annual testing to make sure we remember the videos ets. on equipment safety, fire hazards, electrical hazards, bomb threats, child abdution etc.
    Do schools have safety training modules for the various classes from PE to Physics?
    If not. Why not?

  4. Ah to see the wizard….thank goodness they weren’t standing in water. If so they could have ll been fried. Lets see, school and teachers and what about personal responsibility? But it does appear to be something greater than negligent supervision.

  5. I hate to quibble mespo, but “failed attempts at recreating Frankenstein’s monster is no crime” would indeed be a crime if it involved grave robbing.

    However, I am with you in spirit.

    Stupid is as stupid does.

    And this guy was clearly too stupid to be using power tools in the first place.

  6. Ok, JT you’ve actually found a negligence claim even I can’t defend. Encouraging stupidity is not a tort and failed attempts at recreating Frankenstein’s monster is no crime.

  7. “Kyle Dubois, reportedly had friends clamp the electrical cord to his nipples before being shocked”

    And expected what not to happen?

Comments are closed.