COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The parents of a 13-year-old girl killed
by a hockey puck got $1.2 million in a settlement with the NHL and
other groups, according to a copy of the agreement made public
Wednesday under an appeals court order.
Brittanie Cecil's family reached the settlement last year, but
it was sealed until Wednesday, when the Ohio Supreme Court ruled
that it was a public record and must be made public in response to
a request from WBNS-TV of Columbus.
Brittanie died after being struck at a March 2002 Columbus Blue Jackets game.
The team, the NHL and Nationwide Arena agreed to pay $705,000 to
Jody Sergent, the girl's mother, and $470,000 to David Cecil, the
The high court ruled 6-1 that Preble County Probate Judge
Wilfred Dues erred in creating an exception to the state's public
records laws to protect the family's privacy rights.
Attorneys for the family received an additional $538,000, the
settlement said. It also included $13,000 for funeral expenses.
An attorney representing the family said the high court's
decision allowed the TV station's commercial interests to prevail
over the family's wish for privacy.
But the president of the station's parent company said the
public's right to open government was at stake.
"The news media in this state need to be very aggressive in
preserving our access to public records," said Mike Curtin,
president of The Dispatch Printing Co., which owns WBNS and has a
10 percent stake in the Blue Jackets.
The company's stake in the team did not affect its decision to
pursue details of the settlement, he said.