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Continued: After collapse, millions in legal claims likely

He spent 10 days in the hospital recovering. His father, Charles, sued the school district for $5,000 to cover hospital expenses. The case went to the state Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in the Spanels favor, with comments from the justices that acknowledged they were partially overturning the concept of sovereign immunity.

The case paved the way for limited lawsuits against the government. Spanel said he later learned that it was a big victory for his attorneys.

"I don't think we were awarded any money for it," he said.

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