Los Angeles Unified is being sued by a student at a Hollywood high school who alleges he was injured when a battery within a robot exploded during a robotics league competition in 2015.
Taron Malkhashyan’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit filed Friday alleges negligence and products liability. He seeks unspecified damages.
An LAUSD spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Malkhashyan was a student at Bernstein High School in Hollywood when he took part in the NTMA Training Center Robotics League Regional Competition in Santa Fe Springs on April 18, 2015 and competed on a team organized by the LAUSD, the suit states.
The NTMA Training Center also is a defendant in the suit as is LAUSD teacher Punjatorn Chanudomchuck and Robot Marketplace, which the suit states designed and manufactured the battery that exploded.
A robot called Optimus was entered into the competition by the LAUSD, the suit states. Chanudomchuck was supposed to chaperone and coach the students, but failed to show up, the suit states.
“As such, the schoolchildren were completely unsupervised at the robotics competition,” the suit states.
The robot’s battery exploded during the event and fragments of it struck Malkhashyan, including his eyes, according to the complaint.
“Metal fragments of the battery continue to remain in his eyes,” the suit states. “His vision has been permanently degraded.”
Malkhashyan could be prevented from pursuing his intended occupation in mechanical engineering due to his injuries, the suit states.
—City News Service
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