On July 30, 2015, Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Rahul Ravipudi, Deborah Chang, Tom Schultz and Matthew Stumpf obtained a $20,500,000 jury verdict for the mother of a high school student who was killed while walking to a bus stop in Fontana, California. The verdict followed the trial court’s finding that the Chaffey Joint Union School District hid evidence in an attempt to avoid responsibility for the tragic collision.
On December 6, 2010, 15-year old student, Jin Ouk Burnham was walking to a school bus stop that required him to cross an uncontrolled, five-lane highway in violation of state law when he was hit by a vehicle whose driver said she did not see him. He died 15 days later. During the litigation, the School District hid evidence and misrepresented facts regarding the location of the available bus stops, resulting in significant issue sanctions being ordered by the trial judge.
Despite the School District’s attempt to place blame for the accident on Jin and the driver, the San Bernardino Superior Court jury assigned 100% liability for the accident on the School District. During closing arguments, the School District’s attorney claimed that the relationship between Jin and his mother, who had finalized his adoption a year before his death, was worth only $1,500,000. “Although the school district attempted to cover up what happened, we fought for the truth and the truth prevailed.” said attorney Rahul Ravipudi.
Read the Daily Journal article on the sanctions hearing here