A California man whose life was forever altered by donning a chicken suit for a high school pep rally has been awarded a lot more than chicken scratch in a lawsuit against Kern High School District. Mitch Carter was a 17-year-old student at Bakersfield High School in 2010 when he dressed up in the suit to mock the Golden Hawk mascot of arch-rival Golden West High School for an ill-fated skit, the Los Angeles Times reports. Students—including plenty of football players—piled on top of him, delivering kicks and punches in a beating that lawyers said left Carter with a traumatic brain injury. After a jury found the district liable for his injuries, it decided to settle with him for $10.5 million, most of which will be covered by insurance.
Lawyers said Carter, once an honor roll student, has struggled with depression and poor grades in college since the beating. His future medical care costs will be more than $5 million, according to the lawyers. "I would trade everything just to have a full functioning brain," he said after the award was announced. The Bakersfield Californian recaps the wild trial that was brought to an end by the settlement. It included accusations of conspiracy and cover-up from Carter's lawyers, who brought in students to testify that the high school was obsessed with football and protected star players. During closing arguments, attorney Nicholas Rowley donned a chicken costume to make a point. (Read more high school football stories.)