CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CN) – Parents of a 17-year-old boy who was killed by a car say the Union-Tribune and Sweetwater Union High School District invaded their privacy in a story quoting the high school principal. They say the principal told the Union-Tribune that their son had been “‘working through difficult personal issues’ and that district officials had been helping him and his family,” which placed the family under scrutiny after their son’s death.
Ivica and Maria Hudika say Jose Brosz, principal of Otay Ranch High School, made the statement to Union-Tribune reporter Mark Arner.
After the article was published on SignOnSanDiego.com and in the Union-Tribune, Maria Hudika says, she asked Arner to retract the statement, but he refused, according to the family’s Superior Court complaint.
The Hudikas claim that Sweetwater High School Unified District and the Union-Tribune violated the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act by giving Arner private information retrieved from Eric’s school records and publishing it.
They also claim that the information the school district gave Arner was unnecessary and “had no relation to Eric’s death, as there is nothing to indicate that his death was anything other than a tragic accident.”
Eric Hudika was a senior at Otay Ranch when he was hit and killed by a motor vehicle on Oct. 19, 2008.
The Hudikas demand damages for emotional distress, privacy invasion and negligence. They are represented by Gerald B. Determan and Evangelina Woo with Zampi, Determan & Erickson.