Jury finds school district negligently hired bus driver who then molested 8-year-old girl. San Joaquin County.
School district settles for $4.75 million after jury finds that it was negligent in hiring a school bus driver who later molested a special-needs child on the bus.
- Case Name: Diana C. v. Lodi Unified School District, et al.
- Court and Case Number: San Joaquin Superior Court,/ 39-2011-00267549
- Date of Verdict or Judgment: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
- Date Action was Filed: Wednesday, October 19, 2011
- Type of Action: Negligence, Sexual Abuse
- Judge or Arbitrator(s): Hon. Barbara Kronlund
- Plaintiffs: Diana C.
- Defendants: Lodi Unified School District, Richard Dale Evans
- Type of Result: Jury Verdict
- Gross Verdict or Award: Lodi USD 90% liable, Richard Evans 10% liable
- Net Verdict or Award: Settlement after verdict, Lodi USD payment of $4,750,000.00 to plaintiff.
- Award as to each Defendant:
Lodi USD settlement with Plaintiff for $4,750,000 after first phase verdict was reached finding Lodi USD 90% liable for the abuse. Richard Dale Evans found 10% liable for the abuse. Damage award against Evans to be determined by Court after completion of bench trial.
- Contributory/Comparative Negligence: Lodi USD 90% liable, Richard Evans 10% liable.
- Trial or Arbitration Time: 4 weeks
- Jury Deliberation Time: 1 hour
- Attorney for the Plaintiff:
Manly & Stewart by Vince William Finaldi and John C. Manly, Newport Beach.
Meleyco Law Firm by Kenneth Meleyco, Stockton.
- Attorney for the Defendant:
Stubbs & Leone PC by Marina Pitts, Walnut Creek.
- Plaintiff’s Medical Expert(s):
Lenore Terr, M.D., psychiatry, San Francisco
- Defendant's Medical Expert(s):
Anlee Kuo, M.D., psychiatry, San Francisco
Facts and Background
- Facts and Background:
Sixty-one-year-old Richard Evans worked for defendant Lodi Unified School District as a school bus driver. In the course of his work, Evans transported 8-year-old Diana C., who was a special-needs child, to her special-needs classroom. On November 3, 2010 and on unkown prior dates Evans sexually assaulted and molested Diana on the school bus.
- Plaintiff's Contentions:
That the School District was liable for negligently hiring Evans; that defendant ignored the fact that Evans had been charged in 2000 with solicitation for having sex with a prostitute inside his delivery truck.
- Defendant's Contentions:
That Evans's prior record did not make his sexual molestation of the child forseeable.
That Evans revealed his prior record upon application for employment with the District in 2003. That the District performed a criminal background check through the California Department of Justice, which confirmed the charge had been dismissed and expunged.
That Evans's misdemeanor is not an enumerated sex offense precluding employment under the California Education Code, section 44010.
That the CHP conducted a second background check, interviewed Evans and issued a temporary school bus driver's certificate. That the DMV then issued Evans a permanent license.
That Evans worked as a substitute bus driver for the District for seven years with no complaints of any inappropriate sexual conduct with students. That Evans's misdemeanor conduct in 2000 with an adult prostitute did not make his molest of an eight-year-old foreseeable.
That the District worked closely with the police in their investigation and terminated Evans the day the molest was reported.
Injuries and Other Damages
- Physical Injuries claimed by Plaintiff:
Psychological and emotional injuries and pain and suffering.