Daycare Found Liable for Sexual Assault of Child

(Courtesy of the Georgia Trial Reporter)

Case Caption:  Judith Paris-Beck v. Cassandra M. Joiner and Gems Learning Academy II, LLC
Case Number: 2008EV004438
Court:  Fulton County State Court
Verdict: $575,000, including $140,000 to be used for psychological treatment.
Judge:  Myra H. Dixon
Date of Verdict:  4/16/2010
Attorneys:
Plaintiff: L. Chris Stewart, Decatur
Defendant: William P. Claxton, Atlanta
Darcy S. Duval, Atlanta

Facts
A Fulton County jury was asked to determine whether a daycare facility and one of its teachers were liable for negligent supervision after a boy was sexually assaulted by another child.  The jury found against the daycare and awarded plaintiff child and his mother $575,000, a portion of which was to be used specifically for the child’s psychological counseling and treatment.

The students at Defendant Gems Learning Academy II, LLC had come inside after swimming.  Defendant Cassandra Joiner, a teacher, sent three boys (including plaintiff child) into a bathroom to dry off and change their clothes.  While the children were changing, Defendant Joiner was talking to another teacher.  After some time had passed, Joiner opened the bathroom door and discovered one of the boys sexually assaulting the 3 year old plaintiff.  Plaintiff child’s mother, Plaintiff Judith Paris-Beck, filed this lawsuit on the boy’s behalf.

Plaintiff alleged that defendants were negligent in supervising the children and the assault would not have occurred under proper supervision.  Plaintiff claimed the child suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and required counseling.

Defendant contended that plaintiff child never sought any treatment or counseling until three months after the incident, when his father died.

Plaintiff Profile: Plaintiff child was a 3 year old male.

Alleged Injury:  Negligent supervision, resulting in sexual abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Plaintiff claimed $1,400 in past medical specials, plus future expenses for psychological counseling.

Jury Deliberations: 9 hours

Insurance Carrier: Utica

Expert(s):
  Plaintiff:    
       Susan May, Ph.D.
       Psychologist – Riverdale, GA
        
       Arturo Cid
       Social Worker – Hollywood, FL

  Defendant
       Susan Campbell, Ph.D.
       Psycholgist – Newnan, GA May, .
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