Case details

Use of illegal fireworks caused boy’s hand injuries: plaintiffs




Mediated Settlement

Result type

Not present

abdomen, chest, fingers, fractures right wrist, left forearm, left hand, right hand
On July 4, 2015, plaintiff Frank Hernandez III, 12, a student, was struck by a firework. Hernandez claimed of the left hand, left forearm, chest, and abdomen. Frank’s father, Frank Hernandez Jr., acting individually and as guardian of Frank Hernandez III, sued the individuals setting off the fireworks, Shawn Bourdet and Jeremy Mills. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that Mills was the owner of the property on which the fireworks were being used and that Bourdet purchased the fireworks, which were illegal and of commercial grade. Counsel maintained that Bourdet and Mills were setting off illegal and commercial-grade fireworks in the front yard of Mills’ property, located in Hollister, and that as Frank Hernandez III was walking by the property, he heard the sound of a firework coming toward him. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that one of the illegal fireworks had tipped over and shot off into the street, where a group of people, including children, were present. The firework ultimately struck Frank Hernandez III and knocked him over. Bourdet and Mills both admitted liability., Frank Hernandez III sustained fractures to his right wrist and to the base of his fingers in his right hand. He also sustained third-degree burns to his right arm. Frank was subsequently airlifted to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, in San Jose, and later transferred to Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center, in San Jose. He ultimately underwent a fasciotomy on July 5, 2015. Frank was eventually able to return to school, but he claimed that he is left with permanent scars as a result of the accident. Plaintiffs’ counsel contended that as a result of the residual scarring, it is projected that Frank will eventually require a scar revision surgery totaling $135,000. Thus, Frank sought recovery for his past and future medical costs, and damages for his past and future pain and suffering. Frank’s father presented a Dillon v. Legg bystander claim, seeking recovery of damages for his alleged serious emotional distress after perceiving to his son. He claimed that the defendants’ actions constituted negligent infliction of emotional distress. Frank and his father collectively sought recovery of $2.6 million. Defense counsel did not dispute Frank’s or need for medical care. However, defense counsel disputed the amount of damages sought by the plaintiffs. Thus, counsel offered the plaintiffs $1.9 million, collectively, to settle the case.
Superior Court of San Benito County, Hollister, CA

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