For Isabella and her family, the verdict was devastating. And adding insult to injury, after the trial, the school district filed a motion for costs with the court, demanding that Isabella pay over $17,000 in legal fees billed by the school’s attorneys. Here’s a girl who’s had her life blown apart by this tragedy, and after losing in court, the defendants’ attorneys jump at the first opportunity to kick her while she’s down.
But, in a move that became her first sign of hope, the federal judge who had presided over the case denied the attorneys’ request, offering a stinging and very significant rebuke:
The wording used here is important because, although she had lost the case, the judge was, in effect, acknowledging the validity of Isabella’s claim. She had been sexually assaulted, and the verdict handed down by the jury was not a refutation of that. The fact that the judge chose to use this particular language was significant in itself, and something we wanted the media to be aware of. We pointed reporters to the request for costs and the judge’s response and that prompted additional coverage.