* Teams from both Thomas and Kilbourne will argue in court
Friday, Feb. 4, in district competition.
By PAMELA WILLIS
Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2011
5:07 PM EST
Body parts and regenerative brain cells make this year's
mock trial case sound like science fiction as two
Worthington teams argue an individual's constitutional
rights to the organs of a deceased family member.
Teams from Thomas Worthington and Worthington Kilbourne high
schools will compete in the Ohio Mock Trial District
Competition on Friday, Feb. 4 at Marion County Courthouse in
Attorney Paul Nick, adviser for the Thomas team, said this
year's mock trial case analyzes a person's constitutional
rights to the parts of a dead family member's body.
In the hypothetical case, when a young man dies suddenly in
a car accident, the family consents to an autopsy. The
family files a lawsuit against the coroner after learning a
section of the young man's brain was removed and sent to
pathology, where it was discovered the brain cells are
regenerative, or "immortal," Nick said.
The lawsuit alleges the coroner violated the family's due
process rights by sending the brain cells to a research lab
instead of returning them to the body, he said.
"In the competition, a team of five to 11 students must play
both plaintiff and defendant attorneys and witnesses as they
participate in two trials against different high schools,"
At the same time as the district competition in Marion, more
than 330 mock trial teams around the state will compete at
district competitions at 30 different courthouses across the
state, each hoping to advance to regional competition rounds
Nick said teams that win both rounds at the regionals will
advance to the state finals, to be held March 10-12 in
Columbus, with the final championship round to be held March
12 at the Ohio Statehouse.
The state winner will compete in a national competition in
Adviser for the Worthington Kilbourne team is attorney Tom
Novack, who said both teams competed Jan. 8 at the third
annual University of Cincinnati High School Mock Trial
More than 30 teams competed in Cincinnati, Novack said.
Thomas Team America senior and captain Marissa Ganzfried won
a Best Attorney Award and senior Niteesha Kulshrestha won a
Best Witness Award.
"The Cincinnati tournament was a great warmup for the
district competition," Novack said.
Nick said he helped to found the Kilbourne mock trial team
in 1996, but has coached the Thomas team for the past three
"I'm motivated to return each year by the quality of the
mock trial program sponsored by the Ohio Center for
Law-Related Education and also by the commitment of the team
members," Nick said. "While other students spent Christmas
break relaxing with their friends, the Thomas team met with
me at the local library to practice the rules of evidence.
"Their drive to learn is fueled by the quality of their
teachers and draws former students such as Megan Lawson and
Andrew Paik to volunteer their busy time to help the team,"
Nick said most Thomas team members have taken or plan to
take the law course offered by teacher Sean Luzader at
"Each year, I meet with the course to recruit new members
for the team," Nick said. "Team members themselves also
recruit members from their fellow students. We practice at
least two nights a week, so we select students who have both
the skills to argue on their feet and the time to commit to
Team America, from Thomas, consists of Ganzfried, junior Amy
Mo, Kulshrestha, junior Michaela Scholl and sophomore
Team USA, also from Thomas, consists of sophomore and
captain Samantha Williams, sophomore Leighann Holcomb,
senior Grant Savage, sophomore Jessica Gallanis and
sophomore Ryan Mitchell.
Assisting Nick with the team are Chris Godinsky, second-year
law student at OSU's Moritz College of Law; and two former
Thomas mock trial members: Megan Lawson, now a freshman at
Ohio State University; and Andrew Paik, a freshman at Ohio
Robert Moorman, assistant attorney general, volunteers as a
team legal adviser.
Worthington Kilbourne's Team Mandamus includes team captain
and senior Heather Boortz, senior Jedidiah Bressman, junior
Paras Sha, junior Karam Dhillon, sophomore Morgan Novack,
sophomore Rachel Hudson and freshmen Michelle Ding, Keana
Mendez and Meryl Hague.
Worthington school board member and attorney David Bressman
and attorney David Van Slyke assist Novack as coaches and
Novack said Todd M. Kays, president of the Athletic Mind
Institute in Dublin, also has offered guidance and support
to the team.
The Ohio Center for Law-Related Education is sponsored by
the Supreme Court of Ohio, the Ohio State Bar Association,
the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation and
the Ohio Attorney General's Office.
The mock trial program was made possible in part by a grant
from the Ohio State Bar Foundation, Nick said.