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Missing Toddler’s Mom Intends To Sue the State

As our Boston injury lawyers have mentioned before, sometimes we cover cases and incidents occurring outside of Massachusetts. In this post, we would like to address whether or not a state can be sued for injury or death when a child placed under its supervision gets hurt.

In Maine, the mother of a missing 20-month-old daughter says she plans to sue the state of Maine for civil damages. Trista Reynolds says that the state’s Department of Health and Human Services didn’t’ do enough to protect Ayla Reynolds.

Social service workers had sent the toddler to live with Justin DiPietro, who is Ayla’s dad, when Reynolds had to go to rehab for alcohol addiction. Ayla disappeared from DiPietro’s home in December. He says she was nowhere to be found one morning.

Reynolds says that background checks were supposed to be conducted on
everyone in DiPietro’s residence. Well-child visits were also supposed to happen on a frequent basis. Yet despite expressing concerns to DHHS on several occasions about her daughter’s well-being, Reynolds says that no one looked into her concerns.

Reynolds claims that the week that Ayla was given to DiPietro, he took out a life insurance policy on their daughter. Reynolds says she also plans to sue social services. Last month, blood found in DiPietro’s home was confirmed to be Ayla’s.

When the state exercises the ability to place someone’s child-whether with a family member, a foster home, or with someone else-it can be held liable in certain instances if failure to exercise the necessary care allowed the child to get seriously hurt or die. A negligent party doesn’t need to have been the direct cause of Boston personal injury or wrongful death in order to be liable for damages. Sometimes, it is a failure to act or actions that allowed the incident to happen that can be grounds for a case.

Mother Of Missing Maine Toddler Considers Lawsuit Against State, CBS Boston, February 14, 2012
Report: Ayla Reynolds’ father took out life insurance on toddler before she disappeared, CBS News, February 15, 2012
Ayla Reynolds Case: Blood Found in Home Belongs to Missing Girl, ABC, January 30, 2012

More Blog Posts:

Hampshire County, Massachusetts Lawsuit in Phoebe Prince’s Bullying Settled for $225K, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 31, 2011

Dorchester Toddler Dies After Driver Accidentally Leaves Him in Day Care Van for Several Hours in 80 Degree Weather, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, September 17, 2011

Rebecca Riley’s Estate Reaches $2.5M Boston Medical Malpractice Settlement with Tuffs Medical Center Psychiatrist, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, January 25, 2011
In Massachusetts, contact Altman & Altman LLP and ask for your free case evaluation with one of our Boston wrongful death attorneys.