A lawsuit filed by two boys injured by a falling tree at Chula Vista Middle School accuses the Sweetwater Union High School District of negligence and failure to prevent a dangerous condition.
According to the lawsuit, Edgar Camargo and David Plascencia were leaving school on Jan. 20, 2017, when a tree toppled in the school’s courtyard.
"I'm just on the ground, and I hear people screaming in the background,” David Plascencia said. “I was scared. I didn't know what happened."
Plascencia’s lawyer says the falling tree limb fractured two of Plascencia’s vertebrae, and damaged his neck, back and wrist. Attorney Jim Frantz says Edgar Camargo’s injuries include two compression fractures, and head, back and shoulder pain.
“God willing, they were not killed in this incident,” Frantz said.
The accident happened on a very windy, rainy day during which other trees fell in the South Bay.
Frantz argues that the school district should have done more to prevent what he says was a dangerous condition on school grounds. He said school districts have a “mandatory duty to protect against injuries” to students, teachers and staff.
“They have to really step up their (landscape maintenance and) safety program, so they don't have kids, 13-year-old kids like this, harmed as severely as they were,” Frantz said.
Plascencia is back in school, and even playing a little basketball. But he said he still has considerable pain when he exerts himself. And his father said he is not the same kid, physically or emotionally, since he was hurt by the falling tree.
“He used to skateboard and weightlift, and work with a punching bag,” said Cuauhtémoc Plascencia. “He doesn't do any of that stuff anymore. He basically stays in his room and plays video games."
Attorney Frantz said the school district should pay for past and future medical costs, and pain and suffering, for the two students.
A spokesman for the Sweetwater Union High School District said the district does not comment on pending lawsuits.