LANCASTER, NY - A former presidentially-appointed United States attorney confirmed Tuesday evening he will serve as legal counsel to the Lancaster School District, a day after an electric shock incident that sent three teenagers and one adult to the hospital.
Terry Flynn, who currently works for the Harris-Beach firm but served the Western District of New York from 2006 to 2009, said Lancaster police must now complete their investigation before the legal process moves any farther. He could not estimate a timetable for that investigation.
On Monday, the four males were shocked on the Lancaster High School football field when the goal posts they were attempting to move came in contact with power lines hanging above the field. Police have not released their names, nor have they confirmed why they were on the field at that particular time. Police have said a football camp ended on Sunday, and that the four people involved in the electric shock were moving the goal posts back to their original spots.
Lancaster Police Chief Jerry Gill did confirm the four victims were all males of the following ages: 15, 17, 18 and 28. However, it's unknown at this time whether they had any relation to the school or weekend football camp.
Due to the lingering questions, legal analyst Michael Taheri told 2 On Your Side that it's too early to determine whether the school -- or any other parties involved -- would be at risk for civil litigation from the victims' families.
"People tend to want to jump the gun and say, 'let's sue somebody'," Taheri said. "I don't think we're there yet at all."
Taheri, who practices criminal law in Williamsville, said the police investigation will involve witness interviews, photographs and expert analysis to determine if there was any negligence. In addition to the school's role, Taheri said police may also investigate the other entities involved.
"They'll look, for example, at the high tension wires. Were they at the correct height? They'll look at the goalposts. How were they manufactued? Were they long enough? Were they too long? How old were the goal posts?" Taheri said.
Taheri said these sorts of investigations usually take weeks and months to complete-- and only then will attorneys have a better idea of what kind of legal action could be taken.
"People tend to say, 'well, there must be some liability or responsibility,'" Taheri said. "I think it's too premature."