A jury has awarded $30 million in damages to a mother whose 6-year-old son was killed in 2019 by a worker for an after-school program operated by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the jury decided the school district was negligent in hiring, retaining and supervising Tyler D’Shaun Martin Brand, an after-school coach who killed Dayvon Taylor in December 2019.
A L.A. County Superior Court jury in Van Nuys found that the district was responsible for 90% of the negligence that led to the death, with the remaining 10% determined to be the fault of Kenya Taylor.
Brand was an after-school coach at Normandie Avenue Elementary School and had befriended Taylor’s family. Dayvon attended the district’s “Beyond the Bell” program.
An investigation determined that Brand severely beat Dayvon on Dec. 26, 2019, while the boy was staying with him. He died at a Long Beach hospital the same day.
An investigation determined the boy had been repeatedly punched, and that the blunt force trauma led to his death. After Brand was arrested and charged with murder, Kenya Taylor sued the school district for negligence.
Brand pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in May 2022. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Taylor's lawyers presented evidence in the lawsuit that Brand had no training or experience with children, and that a supervisor who knew Brand offered babysitting services did not check his references.
L.A. Unified attorneys argued that the district should not be responsible for a slaying that occurred on private property outside school hours, and said that Brand had passed numerous background checks.
“No LAUSD employee had any reason to believe that Martin Brand was a danger to students until the day he was arrested for the murder of Dayvon Taylor,” the district’s attorneys stated in court papers.