Now our client will have an opportunity to pursue justice in the civil courts for the school's negligent conduct. Nothing can take away the mental, emotional and physical pain that was caused to this precious little girl on that playground, but we believe she is entitled to damages for the trauma that she will live with due to the negligence of the school district.
Los Angeles (PRWEB) April 1, 2010
In a unanimous decision, the California Courts of Appeal, Second Appellate District, last week reversed a summary judgment granted by a Los Angeles trial court and held that the Los Angeles Unified School District has a duty to exercise due care in supervising children while on school premises. The ruling establishes that the school district may be held liable for an assault and battery by other students caused by the failure to exercise such care without evidence of prior specific similar conduct. This duty applies to voluntary after school and before school programs and at all times when students are on school grounds.
The case, Agbeti v. Los Angeles Unified School District (Los Angeles County Superior Court Case No. B211052 and 2010 DJDAR 4556), stemmed from a disturbing 2005 incident in which a second-grade girl enrolled in an after-school program was allegedly harassed and sexually assaulted by a fellow student on the playground of a Los Angeles elementary school.
The student's mother filed a police report regarding the incident and then sued the school district, the school, the playground supervisor, and other school employees for negligent supervision of school premises. The trial court (Los Angeles County Superior Court) granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, finding that schools do not owe a duty of care to children participating in voluntary after school programs and that no special relationship existed, requiring evidence of specific prior similar "bad conduct."
The victim's civil attorney, Howard Kornberg of The Law Offices of Howard Kornberg, along with the firm of Kreindler & Kreindler, partner Stuart Fraenkel, appealed the trial court's decision. Kornberg argued to the Appellate Court that the school district's duty to exercise reasonable supervision of children extends to after-school programs and does not end just because the school day is over. It also imposes liability without proof of prior similar conduct that gave the school notice of a specific danger.
"We're very gratified by the reversal of the trial court's decision in this case because this decision firmly establishes that all public schools have an obligation to their students and families to provide a safe environment," said Kornberg, whose Los Angeles-based law firm has more than 30 years of experience handling personal injury and wrongful death cases. "Now our client will have an opportunity to pursue justice in the civil courts for the school's negligent conduct. Nothing can take away the mental, emotional and physical pain that was caused to this precious little girl on that playground, but we believe she is entitled to damages for the trauma that she will live with due to the negligence of the school district."
For more than 30 years, The Law Offices of Howard Kornberg has provided meaningful representation to people throughout Southern California who have suffered serious personal injury or the wrongful death of a loved one. Kornberg is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell, the highest rating given to attorneys for legal trial skills and ethical standards. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced lawyer, please go to http://www.kornberglawfirm.com or call toll-free 866.685.7259.