H.C. v. Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
GBW attorneys recently secured a $3.5 million settlement in a burn injury lawsuit on behalf of a 15-year-old student who sued the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District and a teacher after she suffered injuries on a school field trip. The settlement was recently featured in an article for the Daily Journal.
The incident happened on May 20, 2017, during a three-day trip for a Solar Boat Competition held at Lake Skinner in Riverside County. While the participating students sat around a bonfire the night before the event, a chemistry teacher put hand sanitizer on his own hands and the hands of a high school boy sitting next to the victim. The teacher lit the boy’s hands-on fire and then ignited his own hands. This caused the flames to jump from the boy’s hands onto the 15-year-old victim’s thighs as she sat in disbelief.
According to the lawsuit, the teen spent weeks in the Intensive Care Unit, during which time the teacher attempted to cover up what happened, by convincing the high school boy sitting next to the victim to take responsibility for what happened. It was only after a video of the incident came to light, and only after witnesses from other school districts came forward to report what they had seen, that the truth of the teacher’s involvement was revealed.