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PINews Speaks Exclusively With Wilshire Law Firm Regarding LAUSD 6-Year-Old Boy Wrongful Death Case

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Following our recent story on the wrongful death lawsuit against the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), PINews spoke directly with Wilshire Law Firm’s senior trial attorney handling the case.

To recap the facts related to the case, LAUSD was named in a wrongful death lawsuit after a December 2019 killing of a 6-year-old boy, John Doe. Tyler D’Shaun Martin-Brand, a former LAUSD employee, was also named in the lawsuit filed by Wilshire Law Firm in Los Angeles.

The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Martin-Brand beat the boy to death. Wilshire Law’s complaint also alleges that the school district is liable due to gross negligence in their hiring, training, and retention of the former employee. The complaint cites Martin-Brand’s previous experience coaching sports and supervising other activities through the “Beyond the Bell” after-school program at Normandie Avenue Elementary School.

Daniel DeSantis, Esq., Senior Trial Attorney at Wilshire Law Firm, told PINews that LAUSD “is going to be held accountable for their actions.”

“LAUSD’s negligence lead to the killing of a beautiful young boy from our local community. It is clearly unacceptable to have hiring practices permitting an individual capable of such a heinous act to work for our taxpayer-funded schools. It’s unconscionable and, tragically, was entirely preventable,” said DeSantis.

”We must be able to trust our schools and the individuals they employ, and be confident that those employees entrusted with the safety of our children will watch over each and every one of them properly,” he said.

DeSantis indicated that Wilshire Law Firm filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s mother to not only bring justice for the young boy, but to also bring about improvements in new hiring procedures for our schools which would protect future lives.

PINews reached out to LAUSD with questions regarding what specific measures have been taken to improve hiring practices and better protect children since the death of . A LAUSD spokesperson provided the following comment to PINews:

“The safety and well-being of our students continues to be a top priority. Death or injury to a student under any circumstances is one of the most difficult, unfortunate occurrences to encounter. Because of student privacy laws and pending litigation, we are not at liberty to comment on this matter. Our thoughts are with the family and school community.”

DeSantis indicated that systemic changes are necessary if similar tragedies are to be prevented in the future.

”LAUSD must make systemic changes addressing multiple shortcomings, and this lawsuit will ensure that those changes occur, and our children are effectively safer,” he said.

When asked if he was aware of any specific changes or improvements in LAUSD’s hiring practices or overall procedures since the boy’s death, DeSantis stated he was unaware of anything up to this point in light of the wrongful death lawsuit. “We are in the beginning stages of the discovery process in the case, and it’s imperative to wait in issuing any further comments. Much will depend on how the evidence shakes out,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis also indicated that a standard government claim form outlining allegations and theories of liability was sent by Wilshire Law to LAUSD representatives, but was rejected outright.

“As far as [LAUSD] taking any sort of responsibility for this tragedy, they had ample opportunity and chose to deny any and all wrongdoing, therefore forcing us to file the lawsuit.”

DeSantis also stated that, while Wilshire Law prepares every case as if it will go to trial, should at some point throughout litigation the defendants wish to accept responsibility and fairly compensate the client for the traumatic loss, a fair settlement given the tragic circumstances is an option the client would be willing to entertain. However, DeSantis expressed skepticism that such a scenario would play out any time soon.

“There’s nothing up to this point that would give me the impression that they [LAUSD] accept a shred of responsibility for this tragedy,” Desantis said.

When asked what sort of reform he and Wilshire Law would recommend to ensure a similar tragedy is avoided in the future, DeSantis stated, “LAUSD’s hiring practices require either a complete overhaul, or significant reform, starting at the very top and including every employee who is tasked with the critical responsibility of keeping our children safe.”

Los Angeles Superior Court has set the trial date for November 28, 2022.