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Kan. military school seeks to split abuse lawsuit

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A Kansas military academy wants to split up a federal lawsuit by 11 former cadets alleging the school fostered a culture of abuse.

Lawyers for St. John's Military School in Salina argue in a recent filing the defense would be harmed by failure to hold 11 separate trials. The motion contends each ex-cadet's claims are unique, and that a jury weighing all the claims in a single trial could get confused.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs say the school's attempt to pursue 11 trials would result in protracted litigation, with similar witnesses and documents throughout. They argue a jury must hear about all of the alleged abuse to decide on punitive damages.

The lawsuit alleges the school encouraged higher-ranking students to discipline younger ones, leading to abuse.

Trial is set for March.