Case details

Suit: Failure to address seizure caused child’s brain damage





Result type

Not present

brain, brain damage
On July 5, 2005, plaintiff Christina Anderson, a 3 year old with a rare genetic condition called vanishing white matter disease, which induces seizures, was at Rainbow Christian Preschool at Village Covenant Church in Azusa, when she suffered a seizure that allegedly began at approximately 3:30 p.m. The seizure then became out-of-control by the time Christina’s father arrived at approximately 5:15 p.m. An ambulance subsequently arrived on the scene and Anderson’s seizure continued for roughly six hours. As a result, Christina sustained exacerbated brain damage, resulting in spastic quadriparesis. Christina, through her guardian ad litem, Alma Anderson, sued Village Covenant Church, Rainbow Christian Preschool, and a former director at the school, Ann Grave. She alleged the defendants were negligent in breaching the duty of care and negligent per se in violation of a number of state regulations. Grave was ultimately dismissed from the case early in the proceedings. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that preschool staff ignored Christina’s seizure when it began at approximately 3:30 to 4:30 p.m., allowing it to get out of control. Counsel also contended that staff members ignored physical signs exhibited by Christina, which included bubbling at the mouth, heavy drooling (that soaked her shirt), staring into the distance, and stiff, outstretched limbs. According to plaintiff’s counsel, it was testified that Christina’s teacher noticed the signs and asked the school’s assistant director what to do, but that the teacher was told that nothing could be done since “she is always like that.” Counsel contended that as a result, Anderson’s father was the first person to ask someone to call 911 when he arrived to pick up his daughter at 5:15 p.m., which was up to an hour and 45 minutes after the seizure allegedly began. The defendants filed a cross-complaint against Scott and Alma Anderson, as Christina’s parents, claiming that the school was not adequately informed about their child’s condition and that this contributed to her . Thus, counsel for sued Village Covenant Church and Rainbow Christian Preschool argued that Christina’s parents failed to provide adequate information about their child’s condition and seizure symptoms prior to enrollment, and also disputed the extent of the seizure signs and symptoms that were allegedly apparent on July 5, 2005. Counsel also disputed the claim that the school’s assistant director was on-site at the time of the seizure. Defense counsel argued that Christina’s parents did not know their child suffered from vanishing white matter disease at the time of enrollment, and that prior to enrollment, Christina had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy with seizure disorder and quadriparesis., Plaintiff’s counsel contended that as a result of the out-of-control seizure on July 5, 2005, Christina sustained permanent brain damage that caused spastic quadriparesis. As a result, Christina now cannot talk, walk, feed herself, or perform other normal functions, causing her to need 24-hour care. Plaintiff’s counsel presented a life care plan ranging from $2.6 million to $7.6 million, which depended on Christina’s life expectancy and amount of care contribution by her family. Christina’s family also sought recovery of an unspecified amount in general damages. Defense counsel argued that Christina’s damages were not caused by the long seizure on July 5, 2005, but rather an amalgamation of the several dozen other seizures she suffered both before and after July 5, 2005. Counsel also argued that the event was of no permanent consequence, since Christina suffered from a brain disorder that would have ultimately caused her long-term conditions. In addition, defense counsel contended that Christina would have required a long-term life care plan no matter what, due to her vanishing white matter disease and seizure disorder.
Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Pomona, CA

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