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Panish Shea & Boyle LLP Obtains $11 Million Settlement Following Wrongful Death of Murrieta Student Alex Pierce


Panish Shea & Boyle LLP attorneys Brian Panish, Rahul Ravipudi and
Robert Glassman obtained an $11,000,000 settlement for the family of
Alex Pierce, a 13-year-old Murrieta middle school student who tragically
drowned while under the supervision of Murrieta Valley Unified School
District (MVUSD) staff and personnel. In addition to the monetary
settlement and as a condition of the agreement with the family, MVUSD
will implement changes to its otherwise non-existent School Safety Plan
policies and procedures and has issued a
letter of apology to the family
for the circumstances that led to
Alex's death. Plaintiffs were also represented in the case by Scott
Liljegren of Liljegren Law Group.

"Alex would be 16 years old today if the most basic safety protocols and
procedures were in place at Murrieta Valley Unified School District on
June 3, 2016," Rahul Ravipudi said following a press conference on
Tuesday. "We are proud of the Pierce family for remaining vigilant in
their quest to seek justice for Alex and we're hopeful that bringing
these deficiencies to light will force school districts throughout
California to re-evaluate and update their safety protocols to protect
our children."

On June 3, 2016, 7th grader Alex Pierce traveled to the Vista
Murrieta High School swimming pool with his Dorothy McElhinney Middle
School classmates to participate in a year-end swim party. The students
were under the direct supervision of MVUSD 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. Video
surveillance taken from the pool shows Alex slipped under the water and
remained submerged for nearly two minutes with no rescue efforts by
lifeguards, school district faculty or personnel. Instead, it was Alex's
classmates who brought him to the surface where two student lifeguards
put him on a floating backboard and kept him in the pool for
approximately seven minutes without performing any life-saving measures.
Paramedics arrived and removed Alex from the pool, placed him on the
deck with the backboard beneath him to administer CPR before
transporting him to a nearby hospital. Due to the severity of his
injuries, Alex was airlifted to a second hospital where he was placed on
life support and remained in a coma until July 7, 2016, when Alex was
declared brain dead and his family said their final good-byes.

At the demand of the Pierce family, Alex's death has led to significant
changes to Murrieta Valley Unified School District policies and
procedures in regards to the safety of its students, which include
providing mandatory CPR training to all MVUSD faculty and obtaining a
safety check of the District's pool facilities by an independent third
party. All training and pool safety compliance inspections must be
completed by May 2020, with findings made publicly available on the
MVUSD website. Additionally, the Pierce family and their attorneys are
working with Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) to
introduce a water safety and rescue training bill to be named in Alex's

Murrieta Valley Unified School District was represented in the case by
Jeffrey A. Smith, Steven J. Lowery and Patricia A. Lynch of Declues,
Burkett & Thompson, APC as well as Thomas E. Beach and Spencer H.
Jenkins of Beach | Cowdrey | Jenkins, LLP.

Sabrina Pierce, et al v. Murrieta Valley Unified School District,
et al

Superior Court in the State of California, County of
Case No. MCC1600824

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