A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit filed against the Compton Unified School District and other parties on behalf of a 15-year-old special-needs student who allegedly suffered a broken finger in 2020 at the hands of an instructional assistant at a private school in Orange County.
The plaintiff is identified only as B.M. in the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which also named the aide, David Dominguez, and Spectrum Center as defendants. Attorneys for the plaintiff filed court papers Friday with Judge Michael Stern stating that a “conditional” resolution has been reached and that they expect a request for dismissal to be filed by Dec. 2.
No terms were divulged.
The lawsuit was filed Sept. 9, 2021 on the boy’s behalf by his mother.
“The administration of Rossier and Compton Unified School District participated in covering up the physical and emotional abuse of plaintiff,” according to the suit, which further alleged that both defendants “knew about and/or were recklessly indifferent to Mr. Dominguez’s history of child abuse and risk of being a danger to the safety of its students, including plaintiff.”
But in their court papers, CUSD lawyers stated the district had no knowledge of any “alleged dangerous propensities of David Dominguez” and therefore had no liability in the case. Spectrum Center attorneys, in their court papers, denied any negligence on the part of the Rossier Park Elementary School staff.
B.M. suffers from emotional and speech impairments and attended Rossier Park, Spectrum Center’s school in Orange, during the 2019-20 school year, the suit stated. The CUSD placed the boy in Rossier’s special-needs program rather than keep him at a school owned and operated by the district because of B.M.’s physical and emotional challenges, the suit stated.
On Feb. 7, 2020, Dominguez grabbed him by the hand and broke his finger, in part because of the teen’s disability and medical condition, according to the suit.
The Rossier School’s teacher and principal knew that Dominguez injured the plaintiff and that he was in substantial pain, but the principal initially said he knew nothing about how the boy was hurt, the suit states.
The next week, however, the principal allegedly admitted to the student’s mother that Dominguez broke B.M.’s finger, but tried to justify the aide’s behavior.
From that point on, the school staff, Dominguez, the teacher and the principal “emotionally abused (B.M.) by insulting him, neglecting him and threatening to strike him” while also using indifferent techniques on the basis of his disabilities, the suit stated.
Although many faculty and staff members saw Dominguez physically and emotionally abuse B.M, no one did anything to protect him, the suit states.
B.M. suffered “tremendous trauma,” severe pain and emotional distress as a result the incident , the suit stated.