Wednesday, May 18, 2005

$26 Million Awarded in Florida Child Abuse Case

The Department of Human Services in Florida has been monetarily penalized for returning a child to an abusive home. Marissa Amora (formerly Moesha Sylencieux) and her adoptive parents have been awarded $26 million by a jury for injuries received prior to Marissa's being adopted.

The jury found that the DHS was 75% to blame in the injuries that Marissa received as a toddler who at the age of two was taken to a hospital because she couldn't walk. The hospital found at that time that Marissa had a broken collarbone as well as a tumor on her spine. Due to her injuries an abuse investigation was begun by the DHS, but instead of placing Marissa in foster care after her release from the hospital she was released back to her mother and her boyfriend.

Within a month Marissa was returned to the hospital with severe injuries that left her unconscious and suffering from brain damage that has left her unable to speak clearly or eat. Doctors later found that the tumor on her spine was actually a mass formed from trauma due to abuse. Marissa is still unable to walk because of this injury.

The primary suspect in Marissa's abuse was the mother's boyfriend who is thought to be in Haiti and has never been charged.

Although the jury has awarded the $26 million (which is intended for the lifetime care of Marissa) Florida state law limits the amount of judgments against public entities to $200,000. The state will have to pass a special claims bill to award sums beyond the liability cap limit.

At this time, intentions to pursue the higher award value have not been announced.

Cross posted at Blogger News Network

posted by Is It Just Me? at 12:06 PM