A Fresno mother has won a $5.7 million settlement in the wrongful death lawsuit involving her 12-year-old son, who died from accidental electrocution.
Adrian Antunez Perez was playing football with his friends on Sept. 28, 2017 when the ball fell between a cinder-block wall and a chain-link fence. Adrian went to retrieve the ball but when he reached between the two fences, he was jolted with electricity.
The fence was mistakenly electrified by an exposed live wire near the fence of the Villa Margaritas apartments in southeast Fresno. When police and paramedics arrived they found Perez unconscious and collapsed between the two fences.
Adrian died a few days later on Oct 2 at Community Regional Medical Center. His organs were donated.
About a month after his death, his mother, Victoria Antunez, filed a wrongful death suit alleging that the owners of the apartments, Jason and Chisato Yamada of Southern California, and managers of the apartments, JMY Properties I LLC of Rolling Hills, were negligent for allowing a dangerous condition to exist.
The lawsuit, filed by Fresno attorney Warren Paboojian, alleges that the apartment owners and manager used their handyman to install electrical wiring to power a surveillance camera.
But the handyman was not a licensed electrical contractor and the work was done without city permits or inspections. The work was also faulty, causing an exposed electrical wire to come in contact with a chain-link fence, creating an electrified fence.
The case was scheduled to go to trial on Sept. 9 but was settled on Wednesday. A mediator, paid by both sides, helped settle the case. The Yamadas could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Paboojian said he and Adrian’s mother, Victoria Antunez, were pleased with the outcome.
“She is relieved,” he said. “It’s been difficult for her to have to relive this whole thing, but hopefully she will be able to move forward with her life.”
Paboojian said he hopes the lawsuit serves as a warning to other apartment owners to adhere to city code requirements when installing electrical wiring. And to use competent and licensed contractors.
A few days after Adrian’s death, more than a hundred of his friends and family members gathered for a vigil at the apartment complex at 1235 Recreation Ave., near Olive and Chestnut avenues.
Adrian was a well-liked student at Scandinavian Middle School who loved playing soccer. During the vigil, members of Adrian’s soccer team signed two soccer balls – one to give to his mother, and a smaller ball to be buried with him.