The failure to report suspected child abuse has resulted in very costly consequences for some California health care professionals. The Keane Law Firm recently convinced a jury in Amador County Superior Court (in Jackson, California) to award $8.4 million to a boy who was paralyzed by child abuse when he was 10 weeks old. This is believed to be the largest reported verdict in Amador County history.
The boy, Cree Miller, claimed in the complaint that a doctor, a nurse and two (2) nurse practitioners could have prevented this tragedy but failed to report earlier reasonably suspected child abuse as required by California Law, and that a hospital and emergency medicine corporation failed to comply with California law requiring that they provide employees with a copy of the child abuse reporting law. Also, Cree Miller claimed in the complaint that his biological family abused and/or failed to protect him from abuse. The verdict was returned against Sutter Sacramento Sierra Region, Valley Emergency Physicians Medical Group, Inc., a doctor, a nurse practitioner and four (4) members of the infant’s biological family.
The complaint alleged that there were clear indications of child abuse and that, under California law, a nurse, two nurse practitioners and a doctor were required to make a report to Child Protective Services. California’s Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires that a report be made when a mandated reporter has knowledge of or observes a child whom the reporter knows or reasonably suspects has been the victim of child abuse or neglect. No report was made, however, and Cree remained in the custody of his teenage parents.
Cree was removed from his teenage parents’ custody and placed in foster care after he was paralyzed, and was later adopted by his foster mother. He is now six years old.
Cree was represented at trial by San Francisco attorney, Chris Keane, who specializes in child abuse cases. Co-counsel was Edward Stark of Cron, Israels & Stark and Jennifer Lothert of Young Ward & Lothert.
“Child abuse reporting is critical for the safety of all of California’s children,” said Keane. “It is easy, fast and confidential. And it saves children’s’ lives.”
The case is Cree Miller v Sutter Sacramento Sierra Region, et al. Case Number 13-cv-8253.