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posted: 6/27/2013 4:54 PM

District 129 settles scalding tea lawsuit

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West Aurora District 129 has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed by the parents of a preschool aged, special needs toddler who was severely burned after he pulled a cup of hot tea onto his face.

According to court records, the settlement for the family and the boy, who is now 5, was ordered sealed and kept confidential by a judge at the request of the school district.

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The two sides were due in court this week, but quietly met May 10 and reached a settlement that was approved by Kane County Judge Ed Schreiber.

Horacio Carmona and Christina Vivaldo sued the district, a teacher and a teacher's aide in June 2012, arguing they should be held liable for third-degree burns the boy, who was 3 at the time, suffered on his face, neck, back and chest.

The suit argued that a teacher at Hope D. Wall Elementary School on Nov. 11, 2011, left a cup of hot tea within reach of the boy, who was mentally challenged, presumed autistic without the ability to speak and needed constant supervision. The boy pulled down the cup and was burned, according to the suit.

The district fought the suit, arguing it had immunity in the case, but later acknowledged in court filings that a teacher's aide bought a hot pot into the classroom, which was a violation of district policy.

The parents sought more than $50,000 in damages and a jury trial.

"A settlement offer was ultimately made by the defendant, which indicated a request that the settlement terms remain confidential," wrote the parent's attorney, Patrick Flaherty, in court papers before the settlement was signed.

Melissa Mitchell, attorney for the school district, did not return a phone message.

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