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Riverside Superior Judge Chad Firetag sustained two demurrers April 4 against a Perris mother’s fourth amended complaint alleging that a school employee gave her disabled son a vape pen filled with marijuana while they were both in a Jack in the Box in 2019.

Leslie Frias sued Steven Carter, her son’s aide at school, claiming he encouraged her son to take marijuana instead of his medication.

Carter is no longer employed by the Perris Union High School District.

Frias sued Carter for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

She also sued the school district alleging they violated California Education Code Section 220, which prohibits discrimination.

Frias’ son ran away and threatened suicide because he was smoking marijuana, which interfered with his medication, Frias alleged.

Despite her cause of intentional infliction of emotional distress, Frias never actually alleged that Carter gave Frias’ son marijuana with the intent to distress her, Carter argued. The court agreed, and granted Carter’s demurrer against that cause.

To win on the bystander theory of negligent infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must have been at the scene of the injury-producing event. Because Frias was not at the Jack in the Box when she alleges the injury-producing event occurred, and she came to believe months later that Carter gave Frias marijuana, the court found that Frias did not have a case of negligent infliction.

Education Code Section 220, which Frias alleged the school district violated, states that no person shall be subjected to discrimination based on disability, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation, religion and other decided characteristics.

To prove that claim, Frias needed to prove that Carter harassed her son, which she failed to do, the ruling stated.

“(T)he alleged fact that Carter gave (the son) marijuana and instructed him to take it instead of his prescribed medication is not indicative of harassment or discrimination on the basis of his disability,” Firetag wrote.

Prior amended complaints filed by Frias alleged negligence, Americans with Disabilities Act violations and civil rights violations.

Case number RIC2003837.

The Law Office of Jan T. Aune represented Frias.

Daniel Ferris and Maria Aarvig of Aarvig & Associates represented the school district.


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