An 8-year old boy Gabriel Fernandez was beaten to death in Palmdale, Los Angeles County by the boy's mother and her boyfriend. The young boy passed away in the hospital a few days after coming in with a cracked skull, burns, and broken ribs in May 2013. Pearl Fernandez and Isauro Aguirre—the mother and the boyfriend—have received a murder charge and are awaiting a sentencing from the court that will determine the exact severity of their crimes.
Another court case is underway, as the boy's relatives are suing the county's social services, the Palmdale school district, and the Sheriff's Department for not removing the child out of his obviously dangerous home. The Los Angeles wrongful death lawsuit acknowledges the 60 plus reports of child abuse as being ignored with mishandled investigations. It is important to note that after Gabriel's murder four welfare officials that primarily dealt with overlooking adolescent cases were fired. This occurrence gives a correlating indication that the county has implicitly accepted a degree of blame for the 8-year old's murder. It goes without saying that the relatives are also suing the boy's mother and mother's boyfriend for child abuse, murder, and so on.
Who Is Getting Sued?
As noted above, the mother and her boyfriend are the murderers, which explains why they are being sued.
- The mother and her boyfriend who are the murderers in this case maintain the most blame for this wrongful death. As a mother, Pearl was supposed to be nurturing and protective of her son's well being. A mother's inherent ability to nurture her child would prevent her from being violent or inviting someone violent, like her boyfriend Isauro, into her son's life.
The less obvious lawsuits are those filed against public institutions. These systems that have some form of liability over a minor's life, which should have prevented his or her killing. In such cases, this lawsuit is known as a civil lawsuit, as the societal institutions have negligently failed in providing what citizens pay for through via taxes. These institutions include the county's social services, the school district, and maybe even the police department.
- Social Services is a public institution, paid by taxpayers, to investigate and make appropriate decisions regarding the protection and prosperity of a child. For instance, if a child is raised in an adverse environment such as one where the parents of guardians cannot provide for the children's future through schooling, nutrition, etc., then, Social Services are supposed to remove the minor from the dangerous home and place him or her into a more comfortable one. In Gabriel's instance, his home was adverse because the parent and those she invited were prone to violence. Social Services are at fault not only for not removing Gabriel from the household but mainly for ignoring documented complaints of the child's safety.
- These same complaints were also known and ignored by the school district. Teachers are school representatives that hold some sort of responsibility in terms of reporting characteristics of irresponsible child abuse. For example, if a teacher comes across a child who has bruises, lacerations, incredibly bad hygiene, and so on. That teacher has a responsibility to report such information to social services and others. Because Gabriel lacked such attention and care, the school as a whole has a liability to the boy's death.
- The Sheriff's Department will also be sued for not using good judgment in its investigation. The police force like the public school and social services is a public institution that is paid by taxpayers to look after everyone's safety. These men and women wear a badge to symbol an authority in retaining the peace. They have a responsibility for either not using the proper discretion when reviewing Gabriel's reports or ignoring them altogether.
What Can the Family Receive If It Wins?
A wrongful death suit normally provides compensation to the family of the loved one's loss through the loved one's loss of potential earnings, loss of companionship, and loss of protection. This wrongful death suit is a little different, as it deals with the murder of an adolescent who was too young and legally incapable to have responsibilities to his loved ones.
What the family members will receive in a child wrongful death suit is compensation for bereavement fees, psychological therapy fees, hospital fees, burial fees, mental anguish fees etc. These winnings are only shortcomings to the loved one's loss. However, these rewards will help aid the family through the process and are the least that the guilty can give.
Do These Cases Help Prevent Future Negligence?
What happened to Gabriel Fernandez is a tragedy. This young child had the right to live a prosperous life, and that was taken away from him because of specific people and institutions' negligence or incorrect behavior. Even if one felt that the monetary value of pursuing a wrongful death case would not be enough to subdue his or her pain, a wrongful death lawsuit contributes to the efforts of those who believe in communal obligations. Filing a death will prevent future wrongful death suits, as the consequence of bad behavior will become more apparent. When one really understands the repercussions behind one's negligence, that person is less likely to cause a wrongful death and, thus, more likely to prevent one. When one files a wrongful death suit against the assailants, he or she should intrinsically feel that the right action was carried out and that he or she took a stand against negligence or inappropriate behavior, especially those murdered like Gabriel cannot defend for themselves. Call us today and join the effort to prevent more negligent cases.
Those wishing to pursue claims for damages arising from the death of their loved one are encouraged to call (800) 838-6644 to obtain a free consultation from a Timothy J. Ryan & Associates representative. Their attorneys have recovered more than $15 million over the last year on behalf of their clients and can help you to better understand your legal circumstance.