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John Bisnar
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$10.3 Million Verdict In Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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School District Knew of Danger

A Los Angeles jury on Tuesday has awarded $10.3 million to the family of a 6-year-old girl who struck and killed by a van two years ago in an elementary school parking lot. The jury determined that the Los Angeles Unified School District was largely responsible for the crash.

The family of Jordan Sandels filed the wrongful death lawsuit against the school district alleging that the parking lot at Lanai Road Elementary School in the San Fernando Valley was not designed according to state-approved blueprints. The jury also heard evidence during the trial that district officials had been told of possibly hazardous conditions in the parking lot before the Jan. 13, 2005 fatality.

Michael Sandels, the girl’s father, called the verdict an “incredible victory,” said he planned to use the money to open a foundation to address safety issues in schools nationwide, the news report said.

This is an incredibly sad story and demonstrates the value of our civil justice system. The legal theory that if you cause injury to someone, they can hold you accountable for the harm you have caused, is not only designed to compensate victims but is also designed to give us all additional motivation to pay attention to safety issues. It should motivate us all to paying attention to our actions and the consequences our actions have on others.

It is my hope that the school district will hold the responsible school district employees and systems accountable. Many school district employees make twice as much as the teachers. How many teacher salaries or raises were just lost due to district negligence? Wouldn’t it be fair for all the school district employees who share some degree of responsibility to have to chip in to pay the judgment based upon their degree of culpability? That way those really responsible suffer the consequences of their inaction rather than the teachers and students of the district?

The new information was from and according to KESQ News Channel 3’s website.