Jury Awards $1M To Boy, 12, Asked To Help In School Drug Sting

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A jury awarded more than $1 million to a 12-year-old boy Monday who took part in a campus drug sting after school officials asked for his help at a San Fernando Valley middle school.

The Los Angeles Superior Court panel deliberated for a short time Friday and all day Monday before finding in favor of the boy, who will receive $1 million for past and future emotional distress, plus $15,250 to pay for past and future tutoring.

Lawyers for the boy had recommended an award of $20 million. Attorneys on both sides declined comment.

One female juror said afterward that the boy undoubtedly had been affected by what he went through and that she hoped his future would be better.

His parents, Daniel C. and Reina C., filed the suit on his behalf in January 2010, saying their son, identified in court papers only as Roe, was told to buy drugs from a suspected drug dealer without their permission. The boy’s father embraced his wife after the verdict was read.

The plan was enacted after the boy told Porter Middle School administrators that a 14-year-old, identified in the suit as Doe, was selling marijuana on campus. Without telling police or the younger student’s parents, the administrators gave the 12-year-old $5 and asked him to buy drugs on Feb. 18, 2009, according to his parents’ court papers.

The jury found the administrators — Porter School Principal Joyce Edelson, Dean Laura Custudio and Assistant Principal Armando Mejia — liable for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress, but not for conspiracy.

They also concluded the trio did not act with malice, which would have triggered a second phase to determine punitive damages.

Custudio and Mejia are no longer at the school and Edelson has retired.

All showed little emotion as they heard the verdict. However, Edelson and Custudio wept during their testimony.

Custudio testified that Edelson and Mejia approved the sting after she presented the drug buy proposal to them. All three said they believed at the time they were doing nothing wrong, but said that in hindsight their decisions were unwise.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • dead endz

    emotional distress.this stuff happens on t.v. and the “boy” already saw deals taking place.what distress? sick perverted slop!

  • Let them stay

    Even some illegals can spell and type better than you. What the heck is a lawfuit? Are your American fingers too fat that it presses “f” instead of “s?” And if you think I’m an immigrant, you are wrong. I’m just sick of people like you always assuming something.

    • kill em all

      f u

  • Fed Up

    Idiot school officials. I’m glad they all lost their job.

  • Darryl

    Let me guess…Another Mexican Immigrant family sucks the life out of tax payers once again.

  • wendy

    what distress or damage did this cause the kid and why?? i do not see how this would harm the kid at all

  • gov of alabama

    out of a million dollars…999.000 will go to the drug gangs in mexico. LOUSY MEXICANS.

    • gov my a@#

      you dumb ass ignorant! not all hispanics are mexicans lousy piece of trash! go back to your trailer & fry something!

  • A mexican teacher

    where in the article this family is described as mexicans? Where those ” teachers” earned there degrees? Did you asked yourselves where is the principal’s last name come from?
    Why are you worry about the ethnicity of people when it comes to tragedies or something bad.
    we are also good mexican citizens that are trying to realize their american dream, going to school and educating ourselves to be productive to this country that embrace all nationalities. good luck and God Bless You!

    • Darryl

      You are 1in a Million..Maybe,the rest are breaking the law,this is why “WE” Legal Americans carry such animosity towards illegals.

      Get it?,Got it? Good!
      Now Get to the back of the line, and respect the U.S.A. or go home.

      • Penny

        How can you say something like that when a bunch of Americans break the law too? Tell criminals to respect the USA.

  • Timothy McGarry

    These are the people teaching our kids, folks. Not so bright, huh? Maybe if the top pay was a tad over 42 thousand a year we could get some qualified teachers in the schools.

    • rick

      maybe the teachers and staff messed up but what harm did it do the kid?? what DISTRESS did it cause???

    • citizen


  • LA_Momma

    The dean went to Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies …. so she didn’t lose her job. As for the child’s distress … how do YOU think middle school kids treat someone who is known as a “snitch”? Kids get bullied for much less.

  • rick

    so move to a new district and wala no problems there is no reason to sue for this

  • James

    Well, look on the bright side: With his share of the $1 million settlement, the kid will be able to buy lots of weed …

  • Nick

    CA is BROKE, millions of jobs are at risk, yet the govt awards 1 MILLION $ to a 12 year old because someone gave him $5 to buy weed ?

    Man the state is really getting insane.

  • Kristin

    What does the ethnicity of anyone involved have to do with anything? The child was endangered by school officials without parental consent . That would be illegal regardless of ancestry. Some of you are looking pretty small and ugly.

  • Peace_Mama

    The distress it caused is that the kid was given $5 to buy drugs from gang members. Now he has to live in constant fear. His family cannot afford to move. If you don’t know the facts, don’t judge! If any of you have kids and have a heart, you would know this kid DOES deserve something. Not to mention, adults (especially school officials) should be trusted and put this kid in danger now. Stupid idiots.

  • diane

    that is total bull peace if the parents are that worried about him they can move easy go live with family there is no way to convince anyone with a brain that it is that hard to move and even if it was hard make the school pay to move you that would make more sence then sueing for a million bucks that your in no way worthy of

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