Florida Jury Holds DCF Liable for $15M in Brain Damage Case Involving Girl Who Was Abused by Her Mother
A Volusia County jury held the Florida Department of Children and Families liable to the tune of $15 million after allegations that her mother tortured her. The daughter suffered a permanent brain injury as a result of repeated abuse. The plaintiffs allege that the daughter should have been removed from her mother’s care before she could severely injure the girl. DCF uncovered evidence that the mother was abusing drugs and subjecting her daughter to dangerous conditions. According to her attorneys, the girl suffered permanent brain damage as a result of repeated abuse and is now entirely dependent on others for care and support. She requires a care plan that includes a number of medical specialists to provide services such as speech pathology, feeding, and occupational and physical therapy. Her attorneys believe that she will require intensive care for the remainder of her life.
Two abuse reports were filed prior to the girl’s injury
According to the girl’s attorneys, DCF received two reports through their abuse hotline that the girl was in danger before she sustained a severe brain injury that would impact the rest of her life. A report was filed in May of 2017 when the girl was 18 months old. Those concerns included poor living conditions and drug activity in the child’s home. The girl’s stepfather also had a history of criminal conduct indicating a “pattern of impulsivity and violence”. Another report was made in June of 2017 concerning drug activity in the home and a lack of proper supervision for the girl and another child.
The plaintiff’s attorneys argued that DCF failed to make any intervention into the child’s home despite the two reports of abuse and neglect. The daughter was being tortured and abused by her drug-addicted mother and her stepfather during this period.
In September 2017, the daughter was brought to an emergency room by her mother who told doctors that she had trouble waking the child up in the morning. At the hospital, doctors noted that the daughter suffered a litany of horrific injuries including multiple areas of bleeding around her brain and retinal hemorrhages due to repeated episodes of head trauma. As a result of her injuries, she was left with severe cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, severe post-traumatic epilepsy with ongoing epileptic spasms, epileptic encephalopathy, restrictive lung disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and more. She now requires a feeding tube and is unable to walk or talk.
Sovereign immunity caps the amount of damages a plaintiff can receive when filing a lawsuit against the federal government. The girl would be entitled to a measly $200,000 unless her attorneys file a claims bill with the legislature to recover more money. Certainly, the girl’s medical expenses will exceed $200,000. Hopefully, she will get the relief she needs.
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The Tampa, FL brain injury attorneys at Florin Gray Bouzas Owens, LLC represent the interests of those who have suffered concussions and other brain injuries due to negligence. Call our office today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.