Hacienda La Puente Unified School District Settles With Family of 8-Year-Old Child Who Died After Being Strapped to a Chair and Left Unsupervised
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (August 18, 2022) – The Carrillo Law Firm represented the family of Moises Murillo who died while in the care of Hacienda La Puente Unified School District employees.
Were it not for the negligence of school officials, he would still be alive today. Moises was 8-years-old and diagnosed with Down syndrome and required the use of a special adaptive stroller while at school.
He was attending Sunset Elementary School on May 31, 2017 when he was removed from his adaptive stroller and tied to a school chair with a gait belt. He was left in the chair unsupervised when he fell backwards and struck his head on the floor. The force of the impact fractured his spinal cord causing cardiac arrest.
Moises was taken to the hospital but died 4 days later on June 4, 2017 due to spinal cord trauma. Hacienda La Puente Unified School District failed to provide him with a safe environment by (1) removing him from his adaptive stroller and (2) leaving him unsupervised in a dangerous situation given his limitations.
Moreover, the school district staff did not follow the IEP and tried to modify it without any approval from the parents. Special needs children are particularly vulnerable because in many situations they will not be able to advocate for themselves.
School districts have a legal responsibility to protect children from reasonably foreseeable sources of harm. It is absolutely clear that the school district failed in this regard.
The negligent actions of the school district deprived his family of Moises and the love they had for him. His death was absolutely devastating for his family.
The lawsuit against the school district was initially filed in 2018. After a hard fought legal battle, our attorneys were able to secure an $18 million settlement against the school district one week before a trial was set to start.
Unfortunately, no criminal actions were pursued against those responsible for strapping Moises to the chair prior to his death. But this lawsuit will hopefully force the district to re-evaluate their safety policies so that other tragedies can be prevented. No family should have to suffer through something like this ever again.