August, 2014 – A $10 million wrongful death lawsuit filed by Laura Pendleton, whose daughter Amarria Johnson died from a peanut allergy reaction at school, is scheduled to go to trial in Richmond, Virginia in spring 2015.
The suit names as defendants: the clinic assistant at Hopkins Elementary School, who was present when the reaction happened in January 2012; the school nurse, who was in charge of multiple schools in Richmond, including Hopkins; and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Readers of Allergic Living will recall this heartbreaking tragedy. In January 2012, 7-year-old Amarria was at school when another student gave her a peanut during recess, which she ate. Immediately knowing something was wrong, Amarria found a teacher, who took her to the nurse’s office. When Amarria began to go into anaphylaxis, there was no epinephrine auto-injector for her at the school, and she later died in hospital. Just three months later, “Amarria’s Law” passed, requiring Virginia schools to keep an emergency “stock” epinephrine auto-injector.
Pendleton, a practical nurse, has been steadfast in her claim that she had asked about leaving an auto-injector for Amarria at the school, but had been told by the clinic assistant that this was not necessary and that the school had “everything” Amarria would need. The clinic assistant disputes this, contending that Pendleton never offered to leave an auto-injector.
The lawsuit also says the clinic assistant was negligent in that she did not call 911 until after Amarria had already stopped breathing. (In anaphylaxis, the normal protocol is to administer an auto-injector as soon as possible and then to call 911 immediately.)