VAN NUYS, Calif. – The mother of a 6-year-old boy who was fatally beaten the day after Christmas in 2019 has won $30 million in emotional distress damages in her lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified, in which she alleged the school district negligently hired, retained and supervised her son’s accused killer in an after-school program.
A Van Nuys Superior Court jury deliberated for about a half day Thursday before finding in favor of Kenya Taylor, the 41-year-old mother of Dayvon Taylor. The panel found the LAUSD 90% at fault and Kenya Taylor the remaining 10%.
Tyler D’Shaun Martin Brand, 26, pleaded no contest in May 2022 in Norwalk Superior Court to second-degree murder in the boy’s death and was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison. The District Attorney’s Office alleged the boy was severely beaten at the defendant’s Downey apartment on Dec. 26, 2019, and died the same day at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. Brand was the boy’s godfather and had been caring for the tot over the holiday break, prosecutors said.
According to the suit, Dayvon attended Normandie Avenue Elementary School’s Beyond the Bell program, where Brand was his supervisor and coach. Before the boy’s death, Brand isolated Dayvon from other students, teachers and other supervisors so he could be alone with the boy, the suit filed in August 2020 alleged.
In their court papers, LAUSD attorneys stated that Brand cleared a background check when he was hired in 2010.
“No LAUSD employee had any reason to believe that Martin Brand was a danger to students until the day he was arrested for murder of Dayvon Taylor,” the defense attorneys stated in their court papers, adding that there were no reports of abusive or violent behavior regarding him.
“In fact, he was considered an excellent employee,” the LAUSD lawyers further maintained in their court papers.
But the suit stated that he district should have known of Brand’s alleged history of abusive conduct with other children and that he was unfit to be working as an elementary school coach or supervisor.
The boy’s mother has suffered a “substantial loss of assistance, care, comfort, companionship, society, guidance, moral support, love, affection and protection” since her son’s death, the suit stated.