The parents of a 12-year-old Torrance boy who collapsed while running laps in 2018 and later died have tentatively settled their lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District, the attorneys in the case told a judge Tuesday.
In light of the lawyers’ announcement of the “conditional” accord, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Crowfoot vacated Tuesday’s scheduled start of a non-jury trial of the suit brought by plaintiffs Festus Onuwa Alagba and Clara Alagba.
No tentative settlement terms were divulged.
According to the complaint brought in March 2019, the boy was told to run five laps around the field at Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes during his physical education class on March 6, 2018, even though he told his teacher he had the flu and could not participate. The child — identified only as F.A. in court papers — informed his teacher after the third lap that he was tired and wanted to stop, but he was ordered to keep running, the suit alleged.
The boy collapsed on the fourth lap and remained unattended “for a substantial amount of time until it became clear to the teacher that (the boy) was not playing pranks,” according to his parents’ court papers.
The child was not given CPR until paramedics arrived and he was pronounced dead at about 1:55 p.m. at Little Company of Mary Medical Center in Torrance, the suit stated. An autopsy report showed he died from cardiac arrest with viral infection as a contributing factor, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs believe the school staff had an automated external defibrillator in or near the main office, but that it was not used to help their son.
“It was only until (after) paramedics arrived on the scene that an AED was deployed on F.A., who was already pulseless and unconscious,” according to the suit.
LAUSD lawyers argued in their court papers that the boy did not die from the district’s negligence, but instead from an undiagnosed coronary artery defect that was unforeseeable and therefore the district had no obligation to do more.