On Monday 24th May 2021, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Edward B. Moreton said he is inclined to allow a lawsuit filed by the parents of the 12-year-old boy against the Los Angeles Unified School District. The boy collapsed and died while running at school in 2018. The judge said he is inclined for the case to go on trial for wrongful death lawsuit negligence.

As per the lawsuit filed, the boy, who was identified only as F.A. in the court, was asked to run five laps during his physical education class on March 6, 2018. The boy informed the teacher that he had flu and could not run, yet he was asked by the teacher to run across the field at Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes. After the third lap, the victim informed the teacher that he was tired and could not run further, but he was ordered to continue running.

During the fourth lap, the boy collapsed and remained unattended for a considerable amount of time until the teacher realized that the boy was not playing pranks and had collapsed. The victim was not given CPR until paramedics arrived. He died of a cardiac arrest at 1:55 p.m. at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance. As per the autopsy report, the viral infection was a contributing factor in cardiac arrest.
The parents have claimed that the school staff had an automated external defibrillator in the main office, but the school did not use it to help their son. Only after the paramedics arrived, AED was used on F.A., who was already pulseless and unconscious by then. The defendant’s lawyers argued that the boy had not died due to the district’s negligence, but due to an undiagnosed coronary artery defect that was unforeseen.

They stated that the district had nothing to do with the death and had no obligation.

The judge was not happy with the defense and disagreed with them in the tentative ruling. He stated that the schools have a duty of supervision and the view presented by them is too narrow. The teachers were trained in CPR and an AED was available on the campus, hence it was expected that if a student requires emergency medical attention it should have been administered.

The judge dismissed the premises liability claim by the parents stating that there was no evidence to prove the same. But he was inclined to take the case to trial for wrongful death negligence.

What is California’s Wrongful Death Law?

In California, when a person dies due to the legal fault or negligence of another person or entity it is considered a wrongful death. Negligence-based incidents like car accidents, medical malpractice etc. are covered under wrongful death. As per the wrongful death law in California, surviving family members or the estate can file a lawsuit to claim damages when a person dies due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness or intentional behavior.

The law comes under the statute Code of Civil Procedure 377.60.

If a person or family decides to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the below mentioned four elements need to be present for the case to be heard by the Judge. The four elements are:
1. The death of a family member or dear one is caused completely or partially, by the defendant’s actions.
2. The death was a result of the negligence of the defendant.
3. The death has adversely affected the surviving family members including yourself, allowing you to qualify for compensation in the final verdict.
4. The death resulted in monetary losses to you and other family members.

Establishing and proving negligence in a wrongful death case is very difficult and complex. Some cases may be clear cut while some may involve a lot of complications. Therefore it is advisable to seek expert legal advice to handle the lawsuit. Having an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer by your side will increase your chance of receiving higher compensation for your losses.

Our team of lawyers at Khashan Law firm are knowledgeable and have the required experience to effectively handle wrongful death cases. If you have lost your loved one, due to the negligence of a third party, a wrongful death lawyer from our firm will work hard to determine the cause of the death and the liable party. Contact us at 951.461.2387 for a free and confidential consultation.

About The Author