Jury Awards $3.8 million to Orange County High School Student Who Suffered Severe Injury in Metal Shop Class
Plaintiff alleges school negligence resulted in accident
July 2, 2014 – Santa Ana, CA – A jury awarded $3.8 million to a former student of the Newport-Mesa Unified School District who suffered severe injuries to his right hand during metal shop class.
Bryan Zavala was 16-years-old when three of the fingers on his right hand became suddenly trapped while using a disc sander in class on Halloween day in 2011. The young man was using the high speed industrial machine to taper a steel rod as part of his metal hammer fabrication project when his hand got pulled into a gap between the machine and the edge of the work table.
Zavala asserted that the gap was 3 times greater than allowed under OSHA safety guidelines and that the machine was dangerous and never should have been used in the class. Zavala also asserted that the teacher of the shop class taught an improper grinding technique and failed to properly supervise the beginning students in the class. Zavala suffered severe debilitating injuries to his right, dominant hand.
“The jury unanimously determined that the District improperly maintained the machine and that the machine constituted a dangerous condition. These injuries could have been avoided if the school had taken proper care of its machinery and if Bryan was properly trained and supervised on how to use the machine,” said an SBE attorney.
The injury has resulted in the loss of functional use of the students right hand.
“Bryan’s injuries will impact him for the rest of his life, and limit his ability to pursue the career of his choice,” said attorney Keith P. More of Berman More Gonzalez, co-counsel for plaintiff.
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