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Parents of boy who drowned awarded $3.7 million

The parents of Joshua Hui, a 6-year-old first grader who wandered off from a Sunnyside classroom just over three years ago and was found dead in a nearby irrigation canal, have been awarded $1.85 million each in a court settlement that was reached this morning (Thursday).

The attorney for John and Fen Hui, parents of the youngster, asked the Yakima County Superior Court jury for a settlement of $20 million. The wrongful death trial, which began just over a week ago, focused on the Sunnyside School District and the steps it took to prevent the first grader from leaving the school grounds unattended during classroom hours.

Hui, 6 years of age at the time, was autistic and required more supervision than other youngsters.

Sunnyside Schools Superintendent Dr. Rick Cole, late this morning, confirmed that the local school district was found to be negligent.

"That negligence led to what they call the proximate cause of death," Cole said.

The disheartened superintendent said the more than week-long trial drudged up memories that saddened everyone involved with the case.

"It was very difficult for everyone to sit through...Joshua's parents, the school employees, the school board, everyone," Cole said.

In regards to an appeal of the verdict rendered early this morning, Cole said it is out of the school district's hands. He explained that the district's former insurance carrier, and its attorneys, will have to decide whether or not to accept the ruling or to appeal it.

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