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Rowley & Effres Take a $0 Offer to $9.5M Against School District

When the employees of a California school failed to properly supervise the children during recess, a six-year-old boy was severely injured when he was forced into a game that was prohibited at the school. Even though there were eight aids in the schoolyard, every one of them neglected their duty to ensure that the older children were not near the younger students, in accordance with the school policy. Because of this lack of supervision, one of the older students picked up a younger boy – who happened to be the smallest child in his class – and ran with him, holding him like a football. The older student then tripped and fell, landing on the younger boy’s head and colliding with the asphalt. The young boy suffered a fractured skull and significant brain bleeds, resulting in a traumatic brain injury. Tragically, none of the aids called for medical help, and simply sent the little boy on his way.

Attorneys Justin Effres and Steven Effres, of Effres and Associates, took it upon themselves to achieve justice for the boy and his family by demonstrating the school’s negligence in this matter. They enlisted the help of DK Global to develop compelling visuals that would explain their client’s complex injuries in a way that would be easier for a viewer to understand. Attorney Nicholas Rowley, of Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, also joined the effort and was instrumental in helping to secure a multi-million-dollar judgment against the school district, by bringing to light the many issues in the case that could have otherwise been overlooked. 

The biggest hurdle for Attorneys Justin and Steve Effres was proving that the school district, through their employees, was responsible for this tragedy. The attorneys did not want to focus the blame on the older student, but rather show how the school district was negligent in preventing this foreseeable accident. Another significant obstacle was the boy’s injuries, and how they would develop over the next several years, as is often the case with traumatic brain injuries. It wasn’t until the boy was in the third or fourth grade that it became apparent that his working memory and executive function were impacted due to the damage this incident had caused to his frontal lobe. The Effres team asked the court to continue the case for two years before going to trial so that the real effects of the damage would be apparent.

Complex Traumatic Brain Injury Conveyed Through Damages Presentation

The team of animators at DK Global were asked to show the severity of the injuries to the boy’s brain, and to explain through forensic animation how these traumatic injuries affected him. DK Global collaborated with the attorneys’ medical experts - a pediatric neurologist, neuropsychologist, and neuro-radiologist - to create an informative and dynamic presentation, illustrating the damages that this little boy endured. A video was also created to show the injuries to the different sections of the brain, along with the corresponding functions and deficits.

Before the trial, the Defense wanted to negotiate, but the attorneys knew this was not the right decision for their client. The case went to trial after the two-year continuance and resolved in the middle of the proceedings. 

These legal titans obtained a $9.5 million settlement from the school district to aid in the care of the child’s life-altering damages.

Attorney Steven B. Effres has received extensive recognition for his trial and litigation work. Since 2011, he has been selected to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 in the State of California. He has obtained numerous multi-million-dollar results for his clients. 

Attorney Justin J. Effres earned his J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law in 2012. Mr. Effres tried his first 5 jury trials in just 21 months. He has played an integral role in recent multi-million-dollar settlements: $11.25M, $5.75M, $2.015M, and $1.6M.

Attorney Nicholas Rowley is the winner of the 2018 Trial Lawyer of the Year and five-time finalist. He has extensive courtroom experience representing victims of serious injuries and medical malpractice, especially those who have suffered traumatic brain injuries, spinal injuries, and chronic pain.

"DK is always there for me, bringing their creativity and experience into the courtroom and taking complex, PhD-level issues that would lose most people, and making them something that everybody in the courtroom can understand."
Nicholas Rowley - Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley
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