PSBR Obtains $26 Million Verdict for Special Education Student Sexually Assaulted in Pasadena Unified School District

Posted on August 23, 2022

Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP attorneys David Rudorfer and Wyatt Vespermann have obtained a $26,000,000 jury verdict in Los Angeles County for a former Pasadena Unified School District special education student who was sexually assaulted at school by three of her male classmates. Plaintiff was also represented in the matter by co-counsel, Sheri E. Manuwal and Robert I. Manuwal of Manuwal & Manuwal.

“This verdict demonstrates that all children, regardless of their disabilities, deserve to be protected,” said trial counsel David Rudorfer.

Plaintiff was an 11-year-old student in the special education program for emotionally disturbed children at Focus Point Academy during the 2015-2016 school year — a program staffed, funded and operated by the Pasadena Unified School District. On May 17, 2016, a teacher’s aide was tasked with supervising Plaintiff but instead left her unsupervised with three male classmates who dragged her behind a building and sexually assaulted her.

Despite significant evidence supporting that the assault occurred, the Pasadena Unified School District denied the attack took place, denied the School District’s negligence, and fought for more than five years to deny Plaintiff justice. As a result of the sexual assault, the Plaintiff eventually was institutionalized.

At trial, in addition to denying that the sexual assault had occurred, the defense argued that the Plaintiff suffered no damages as a result of the School District’s conduct and that the jury should award her nothing. The jury disagreed and awarded the Plaintiff $12,500,000 for her past pain and suffering and $13,500,000 for her future pain and suffering.

Defendant Pasadena Unified School District was represented in the matter and at trial by Nancy Doumanian of Doumanian & Associates.






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