Record Multi-Million Verdict Awarded In Case Against California Hospital, Doctor And Nurse Practitioner For Failing To Report Reasonably Suspected Child Abuse

Friday, October 20, 2017 Child Health News
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SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- The Keane Law Firm announces that on October 18, 2017,

a jury in Amador County Superior Court (located in Jackson, California) awarded $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 when Cree was a seven (7) week old infant, he was brought to the emergency room of Sutter Amador Hospital by his teenage parents and maternal grandmother with a reported history of a mouthful of blood, damage to his eye and bruising on his face.  Cree's mother testified at trial that she told a nurse practitioner that the bruises were caused by the infant hitting himself because the grandmother told her to say that.  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 (California Penal Code Section 11166) 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.

The complaint alleged that three weeks later Cree was returned to the emergency department at Sutter Amador Hospital, with a spinal cord injury that has left him permanently paralyzed, and also with a broken clavicle, two broken ribs and extensive bruising over much of his body. A former Calaveras County child protective services worker testified at trial that, if a report had been made to child protective services when the infant was first seen at seven weeks, Cree would have been taken into protective custody. 

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 6 years old.

Cree was represented at trial by San Francisco attorney, Chris Keane, who specializes in child abuse cases.  His co-counsel were Edward Stark (Los Angeles) and Jennifer Lothert (Sonora).

The case name is Cree Miller v Sutter Sacramento Sierra Region, et al.  

The case was tried in Amador County Superior Court, Case Number 13-cv-8253, before the Hon. James D. Garbolino (Assigned).

Mr. Keane states: "Child abuse reporting is critical for the safety of all of California's children.  It is easy, fast and confidential.  And it saves childrens' lives."

Start of trial: September 5, 2017

Date of Verdict: October 18, 2017  

Total verdict: $8,400,000.00

Breakdown of verdict:

For damages suffered up until January 28, 2011:

Past non-economic loss: $400,000

For damages suffered after January 28, 2011:

Future economic loss: $4,100,000

Past non-economic loss: $360,000

Future non-economic loss: $3,540,000

All damages suffered before January 28, 2011 ($400,000), were assigned to defendants Andrea Soldano, Anthony Santana, Greg Palmer and Elysee Palmer, only. 

There were percentages of fault assigned by the jury to the following named defendants for damages suffered after January 28, 2011 ($8,000,000.00):  

Defendant Doctor (Shawn Brady, M.D.): 10.5%

Defendant Nurse Practitioner (Trina Haymond, N.P.): 10.5%

Defendant Sutter Sacramento Sierra Region: 20%

Defendant Valley Emergency Physicians Medical Group, Inc.: 9%

Defendant Andrea Soldano: 12.5%

Defendant Anthony Santana: 12.5%

Defendant Greg Palmer: 12.5%

Defendant Elysee Palmer: 12.5%


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SOURCE The Keane Law Firm

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