Attorneys representing the family of the 15-year-old boy who killed himself at Crescenta Valley High said in court Tuesday that settlement talks broke down after Glendale Unified hired a new law firm.
Stanley Lieber, in representing John and Deanna Ferraro, the parents of Drew Ferraro, said the two parties “exchanged offers,” but declined to disclose any figures.
In a separate motion, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge William Stewart, sitting in Burbank, gave his approval for the Ferraros’ to use an expert witness on teenage brain development. A planned hearing on whether to dismiss the case entirely, requested by Glendale Unified lawyers, was postponed until October.
According to the lawsuit filed in 2012 and subsequent witness depositions, Drew Ferraro was bullied at school by both male and female students, actions his parents believe led to him committing suicide on campus in February 2012.
Ferraro attorney Kathy Belous said in court that Drew’s depression, coupled with his “stressful environment” at school, “could have caused him to snap.”
Glendale Unified officials, in court records, argue that his death “was deliberate as opposed to uncontrollable and random.”
District attorney Dominic Quiller said in court that the last documented record that the school had of Drew Ferraro being harassed by other students was May 2011, nearly a year before he jumped to his death from the third floor of campus.
The day before he killed himself, his mother said she talked to Drew about suicide after finding a text message conversation between Drew and a friend, in which Drew hoped for an apocalypse to occur so “I wouldn’t be hurting anyone with my death,” according to court records.
“We talked about suicide being permanent and that it’s something you can’t take back and that he’s loved and he has a lot of friends,” Deanna Ferraro said in a court deposition. “I know. I know. I’m not thinking about doing anything like that,” she remembered Drew saying.
Four suicide notes written by Drew surfaced into the investigation into his death, though his family has declined to release them.
“They didn’t mention anything about being abused or being bullied,” said Sheriff’s Lt. John Corina said in 2012. “He gave a different reason for doing what he did.”
The parties are next due in court in October and a trial date is slated for Feb. 2.