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Samohi Student Files Claim Against District for "Severe Lung Injury"

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By Jorge Casuso

September 25, 2019 -- A Santa Monica High School student filed a claim against the School District this month alleging he suffered "severe lung injury" due to a chlorine gas leak at the school's pool.

The 17-year old senior was in the pool on August 22 when he and fellow members of Samohi's water polo team began suffering from "acute respiratory distress," according to District officials ("Samohi Pool Reopens After Gas Leak," August 27, 2019).

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The chlorine leak, which took place while restarting the boiler after a gas line break, led to the evacuation of the pool building and the closure of the pool, officials said.

Eleven students required medical attention, and all were cleared that evening, officials said.

The student who filed the complaint “is a strong young man in peak physical form,” said attorney Khail A. Parris of The PARRIS Law Firm, which filed the claim September 10.

“The school’s lack of oversight led him and several other members to become seriously ill.”

Parris said that after the leak "emanating from a degraded pool system" his client was unable to breathe and became immediately ill.

"Upon quickly exiting the pool, he began to vomit repeatedly as other students experienced similar symptoms," Parris said in a press release issued Wednesday.

He "was rushed to the Santa Monica UCLA emergency room by ambulance and continues to suffer from serious lung injuries," Parris said.

In a statement Wednesday, District officials said they do not comment on pending litigation but added that they have been in contact with the families of the affected students.

"The SMMUSD superintendent and Samohi principal met with families following the Samohi pool incident last month," said District spokesperson Gail Pinsker.

"We have been in communication with the families and we are working with them regarding medical claims stemming from this incident."

Pinsker said the District has "remedied the cause of the chlorine leak to prevent this from happening again."

The PARRIS Law Firm is one of the firms representing Latino plaintiffs in a voting rights lawsuit against the City.

Editor's note: The name of the student who filed the complaint has been removed at the request of the family. The name was provided by the family's attorney.

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