School officials reject Costa Mesa teen’s $28,000 broken-teeth claim

Newport-Mesa Unified School District trustees said they will not pay $28,000 to a Costa Mesa High School athlete who sustained four broken front teeth during what has been characterized as a friendly scuffle with a teammate.

According to the Daily Pilot, the student’s mother filed a claim against the district on June 18, saying varsity baseball coach Paul Grady should have paid closer attention to his team at the time of the incident.

Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday night to reject the request, per district staff’s recommendation, and did not discuss the matter during the meeting.

The $28,042 requested was for dental work, some of which can’t be performed until after the student’s braces are removed, according to the claim.


The student, whose name has not been released, stated that after tackling a teammate, he was pushed onto a bag containing a baseball, which broke his teeth, according to the claim.

The incident occurred after an April 12 baseball game against Godinez Fundamental High School in Santa Ana, according to the claim.

The student realized that he didn’t have his baseball glove when he got on the bus after the game and suspected one of his teammates had taken it, the claim said.

As the players were walking back to the clubhouse, the student approached one of his teammates and asked for his glove. When the teammate refused, the student tackled him “only in fun,” he wrote.

As other players rushed over, the student was pushed face-first onto the athletic bag containing the baseball, breaking four of his teeth, the claim said.

A parent showed up just as the fight broke up, according to the claim.

The student wrote that Grady was in his classroom at the time. Grady did not respond to phone calls from the Pilot seeking comment.


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Twitter: @hannahfrytcn

Hannah Fry is a Times Community News staff writer.