SANTA MONICA, Calf (Nov 9, 2018) — The Consumer Attorneys of California presented Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP Attorney Taylor Rayfield with the Street Fighter of the Year Award at its annual gala this weekend. Each year, the statewide organization honors one outstanding trial lawyer, who has practiced law in California for less than 10 years, who achieved a significant result on behalf of a consumer.
Ms. Rayfield obtained a $1.75 million settlement for a student-athlete who was sexually abused by a Torrance High School wrestling coach. The settlement secured an important benchmark for nearly 30 other sex abuse victims who had lawsuits against the same defendants, slated for trial. “This award is such a tremendous honor,” said Taylor Rayfield. “I’m hopeful that raising awareness about the issue of school sex abuse will help end this epidemic that affects many school districts around our state,” added Rayfield.
As lead counsel, Ms. Rayfield conducted extensive discovery, motions and depositions in the case of T.H. minor and guardian ad litem, N.H. vs. Torrance Unified School District, Thomas Snider. Her tenacity in this matter revealed that years before her client was abused, school staff members, administrators, and even the principal were aware of reported allegations by students, but failed to report the alleged abuse to authorities. Despite being mandated reporters, the school district never alerted law enforcement or did any investigation of their own into the allegations against the coach. The district was given notice as far back to 2004 that the coach was a sex predator, but failed to report his behavior. Instead, school officials told the coach about the complaints of sexual molestation.
In October 2016, a judge sentenced Thomas Snider to 64 years to life in prison following his conviction of 26 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child 14- or 15-years-old, three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, and eight misdemeanor counts of child molestation. In 2014, the school put Snider in contact with more than 30 boys as the head coach without any supervision to ensure Snider acted appropriately. This settlement holds the district accountable for failing to protect its students and provides a sense of justice for Rayfield’s client. Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP is one of the country’s top plaintiffs’ injury law firms, specializing in wrongful death, catastrophic injury, legal malpractice, and product defect cases.