A $27 million settlement has been reached in a lawsuit regarding the death of 13-year-old Diego Stolz, who was fatally beaten by two fellow students at Landmark Middle School in Moreno Valley in 2019. The settlement was obtained on behalf of Stolz’s legal guardians, Juana Salcedo and Felipe Salcedo, according to the family’s attorneys.
The incident occurred on September 16, 2019, when two 14-year-old boys attacked Stolz outside of the school. One of the boys struck Stolz in the head from behind, causing him to fall and hit his head against a pillar. The boys continued to assault Stolz, who tragically died nine days later from a brain injury.
In 2020, the two boys pled guilty in juvenile court to involuntary manslaughter and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. They were not sentenced to jail time but were ordered to undergo anger management therapy as a probation condition.
The wrongful-death lawsuit alleged that the Moreno Valley Unified School District failed to take action after being informed about the bullying Stolz experienced. The settlement is said to be the largest bullying settlement in the United States.
Stolz’s family hopes that this case will bring about change in school districts across the country, emphasizing the importance of addressing and preventing bullying. They believe that Diego’s death could have been prevented if the school had prioritized an anti-bullying policy.
In response to this tragic incident, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill 2445 in 2020, which allows legal guardians to bring civil claims on behalf of a minor in cases involving wrongful or negligent acts resulting in a minor’s death, if the child’s natural parents are deceased.
This settlement serves as a reminder of the devastating consequences of bullying and the importance of taking bullying complaints seriously. The hope is that schools nationwide will learn from this case and prioritize the safety and well-being of their students.