Our clients’ son, a 26-year-old autistic man, was on a field trip to a museum while in the care of his adult day program. He suffered a physical and emotional outburst during the trip, which resulted in him being held face down on the floor by museum staff, who were untrained in methods of proper restraint.
The young man died at the scene of positional asphyxia, which is suffocation caused by the way a person is restrained. Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt took numerous depositions establishing that the day program’s chaperones violated nearly all of the program’s policies and procedures and allowed the young man to die.
Despite the museum’s claim that its employees did nothing wrong, we established that their untrained employees were required to intervene because the museum had inadequate onsite security. To give a true picture of the life of the young man and the loving bond he shared with his parents, we culled through hundreds of home videos and photos from the day of his birth until a few weeks before his death and created a movie about his life, which we showed to the mediator and defendants. This video also showed that the outburst he displayed at the time of his death was only a very small part of who the young man was.
At mediation, Mark Fong and Seema Bhatt obtained a settlement of $2.625 million on behalf of the young man’s parents (the adult day program’s policy limits were capped at $2 million).