The tragic wrongful death case of Haile Brockington—the 2-year-old Florida toddler left for hours in a sweltering day care center van in August, with fatal consequences—has taken a new turn. Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) has determined that the child’s death was the fault of employees and was not due to a lack of procedures.
The department agreed with findings by the Palm Beach County Health Department and the Brockington family’s Miami child safety lawyers, Grossman Roth, P.A., saying the van’s driver, Amanda Inman, failed to follow state-mandated regulations when she left the toddler in the back of the vehicle for more than six hours on August 5.
Inman, along with the former director of Katie’s Kids Learning Center in Delray Beach, Petra Rodriguez, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter in Haile’s death. In late December, a Palm Beach County judge granted Inman a continuance in light of her recuperation from hip replacement surgery. She is due back in court on Feb. 25.
Florida child safety regulations require that two employees visually inspect a vehicle whenever children enter or exit it. They are also required to maintain a log noting the boarding and departure of each child. Inman, the DCF’s report stated, admitted to filing a log that said Haile got off the bus.
Haile, in fact, never left the day care center’s van that hot summer day, when temperatures surpassed 130 degrees inside the vehicle. Instead, she was found lifeless more than six hours later, still strapped in her car seat.
The Brockington family’s lawyers at Grossman Roth filed a wrongful death suit against the owners of Katie’s Kids Learning Center, Kathryn Muhammad and Barbara Dilthey—each of whom has already been fined $2,000 by the state for numerous health department violations.
Haile’s parents and lawyers have also called for stricter child safety measures in Florida—measures that go beyond requiring that names be checked off a list when children board and leave a day care vehicle.
One measure, which would mandate that a safety alarm sound until the driver walks the length of the vehicle to turn it off, has already been announced; it is expected to be brought before the next session of the Florida legislature. While the measure will come too late to save Haile, her parents and Grossman Roth wrongful death lawyers hope that it will prevent other needless, senseless deaths.
*This news story was brought to you by the child safety and Miami wrongful death attorneys at Grossman Roth, P.A. For three decades, we’ve been fighting for—and coming through for—those needlessly injured by the negligence of others. Along the way, we’ve become one of south Florida’s preeminent firms for wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury claims, helping clients obtain the recovery they deserve.