Jury Awards Ex-Student $6.3 Million in Accident

From Times Staff Reports

A former Simi Valley student was awarded a $6.3-million verdict Monday after a jury found school officials liable for a 1989 accident in which she was struck by a car while walking to class.

Jennifer Joyce will recover only about half of the award, however, because the jury apportioned fault on other parties who were no longer part of the case, lawyer Gary A. Dordick said.

The verdict against the Simi Valley Unified School District comes after three trials in a lawsuit filed more than a decade ago.

In 1989, Joyce, then 13, was struck by a car while walking to Sequoia Junior High School where she was a student. She suffered permanent brain damage.

Joyce's parents sued the school district in 1990, alleging that officials had created a dangerous condition by allowing students to use an unsafe crosswalk near a school fence gate.

A prior judgment was thrown out of court because of inappropriate conduct by one of the lawyers. A retrial began in May, culminating in Monday's verdict. Dordick expects the school district to appeal.

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