Pierce v. Murrieta Valley Unified School District


Pierce v. Murrieta Valley Unified School District



$11 Million plus non-monetary stipulations



Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman



Wrongful Death, Government Liability



Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and Robert Glassman represented Sabrina and Rodriquez Pierce against the Murrieta Valley Unified School District following the wrongful death of their son, Alex, a 7th grade student who drowned in June 2016 while participating in a school sponsored end-of-year swim party with his classmates. The students were under the direct supervision of Murrieta Valley Unified School District staff and personnel who chaperoned the outing as well as Murrieta Valley High School student lifeguards who were “on duty” watching over the kids as they swam.


As children swam around him, 13-year-old Alex slipped under the water and to the bottom of the pool where he remained for nearly two minutes with no rescue efforts by lifeguards, school district faculty or personnel. Instead, it was Alex’s classmates who made rescue efforts to retrieve him as no other school district faculty or personnel dove into the water to assist. The on-site lifeguards did not perform CPR on Alex, which allowed precious minutes to pass before he was attended to by paramedics from the Murrieta Fire Department. Alex was taken to a nearby hospital and, due to the severity of his injuries, he was airlifted to a second hospital where he was placed on life support and in a coma for more than 30 days until he was declared brain dead during a final test by doctors.


In June 2018, attorneys obtained an $11 million settlement for the Pierce family. In addition to the monetary settlement, and as a condition of the agreement reached with the Pierce family, MVUSD will provide CPR training to district faculty, obtain a safety check of the District’s pool facilities and provide a release of the findings on the District website, have a School Safety Plan in place as well as provide announcement on the District website, and issued a written apology to the family regarding the incident.

Attorneys for the Pierce family are also working with state legislatures to draft a water safety bill in Alex’s name.



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