A former Newport-Mesa Unified School District high school student won a $3.8 million verdict for a disabling accident in a metal shop class, the plaintiffs' attorneys said today.
Bryan Zavala, who was 16 when he suffered the severe injuries to his right hand, won his lawsuit against the school district late Wednesday.
Three of Zavala's fingers got stuck between a disc sander and a work table in a class on Halloween in 2011 as he used the machine to taper a steel rod, according to his attorneys.
The space between the machine and the edge of the work table was three times bigger than allowed under state guidelines, the attorneys said in the lawsuit.
Zavala claimed the machine was too dangerous and his teacher taught an improper grinding technique and failed to supervise the inexperienced students.
"The jury unanimously determined that the district improperly maintained the machine and that the machine constituted a dangerous condition. These injuries could have been avoided if the school had taken proper care of its machinery and if Bryan was properly trained and supervised on how to use the machine," said attorney Gregory L. Bentley of Shernoff Bidart Echeverria Bentley LLP, co-counsel for Zavala.
A message left with Newport-Mesa Unified's public information office was not immediately returned.
--City News Service