Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Robert Glassman and Nathan Werksman have obtained a $7,500,000 settlement for Plaintiff Micaela Sanchez Corona whose severely autistic son died as a result of fatal injuries sustained in a golf cart crash at El Modena High School last year. In addition to the monetary settlement and as a condition of the agreement with Plaintiff, the Orange Unified School District (OUSD) will implement changes to its policies and procedures, including conducting a district-wide evaluation of all campus golf carts by a national golf cart expert to enhance the safety features of the carts and dispose of those carts that are obsolete, as well as establish a yearly golf cart training program for those driving golf carts on school sites. A memorial bench honoring decedent Emmanuel “Manny” Perez will also be placed in the high school campus garden.
“We are pleased that Orange Unified School District has agreed to resolve this case and is committed to creating a safer environment for its students and staff,” said attorney Glassman of the settlement. “It is our sincere hope that the District’s changes to its golf cart procedures will ensure no other student or family suffers through such a horrific tragedy ever again.”
Manny, a 15-year-old autistic high school student who behaved and processed information as a third grader, was killed on September 9, 2019 after his instructional aides allowed him to sit alone in the passenger seat of an on-campus electric golf cart – a violation of his Individualized Educational Program (“IEP”). The golf cart had been left with the ignition turned to the “ON” position and the “FWD” gear activated. Tragically, Manny began having a tantrum and inadvertently stomped his left foot down on the accelerator pedal, causing the golf cart to accelerate forward about 37 feet and into a horizontal metal railing. As a result of the incident, Manny suffered significant chest and abdominal trauma and succumbed to his injuries later that same day.
Defendant Orange Unified School District was represented in the case by Stephen M. Harber, Esq. of McCune & Harber, LLP.