A mother from Bradenton has filed a class-action wrongful death lawsuit against a child care facility she said engaged in negligence that resulted in the death of her infant daughter, then just 4-months-old.
The baby appeared fine and healthy when her mother dropped her off at the facility, which catered to families near or below the poverty line in Manatee County. However, several hours later, she was dead.
Despite a medical examiner’s subsequent ruling the child died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, records from the Department of Children and Families indicate the facility may not have been properly caring for the baby and likely others. Administrators reportedly lied about the number of infants for whom it cared in official documents (in order for numbers to align with state maximums). Additionally, there is evidence the facility ignored an employee’s drug use.
Our Fort Myers wrongful death attorneys are troubled by the allegations in this case, but we also recognize they aren’t necessarily isolated.
For example, in Lehigh Acres last year, a 2-year-old child drowned at a pool located on the day care’s property. In Milton, a day care owner is facing severe criminal charges after a 16-month-old boy died after suffering traumatic injuries consistent with violent shaking. In Sunrise, a 4-year-old died after being accidentally left in a sweltering vehicle while his playmates were brought inside after an outing.
Day cares are required to provide a high standard of care for children under their supervision. However, simply proving a breach of care standards or even violations of the law is not enough to win a civil lawsuit. It must be proven those breaches/violations were the proximate cause of a child’s death or injury.
In a situation such as the one in Bradenton, proximate cause may be difficult to prove where a medical examiner has listed an unrelated cause of death. Still, alternate expert witnesses could provide different theories of causation.
The mother reportedly dropped her daughter off at 8 a.m., where she was placed in the infant room with two employees. Both women, in their 50s, are not accused of committing a crime. Sometime between 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m., the girl was put in a bouncy seat with a bottle propped up for her to drink. The girl was then picked up by one of the workers, but she was not burped.
Baby was then placed in a crib on her stomach. Two hours later, workers found baby was still and unresponsive.
Lawsuit alleges workers did not properly feed the child (who should have been handfed), did not place her on her back to sleep (as is recommended by pediatricians) and did not properly monitor her as she slept. All of this violated county and state laws. The lawsuit also alleges one worker was under the influence of both marijuana and cocaine while caring for the infant and other children too, though she was not caring for the girl on the day of her death.
The girl’s death prompted a state investigation, and the center was ultimately made to pay an undisclosed fine. While initially barred form caring for children under the age of 12 months, that ban has since been lifted and the center is still operational, albeit under new management and minus three employees who were fired.
If you have been injured in an accident, contact the Hollander Law Firm at (888) 751-7770 for a free and confidential consultation. There is no fee unless we win.
Mother of infant who died is suing day care, Oct. 29, 2014, By Gabrielle Russon, Bradenton Herald-Tribune
More Blog Entries:
Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed After Alleged Nursing Home Neglect, Oct. 11, 2014, Fort Myers Wrongful Death Lawyer Blog