Corboy & Demetrio of Chicago has secured a settlement of $1 million for Katlyn McDaniel, Special Administrator of the Estate of Tessa McDaniel, her 3 ½-month-old daughter who died on November 15, 2016 at Tender Hart’s Family Home Care Learning Inc., 20 South Lodge, Lombard, Illinois.
DuPage Co. Circuit Court Judge Brian McKillip approved the settlement of the insurance policy limits of $1 million for Corboy & Demetrio’s client on June 5, 2017.
According to the lawsuit, Defendant Jason Hart, husband of Tender Hart’s owner and an employee, was alone caring for 20 children of mixed ages to 5 years old including several infants. He took Tessa from a Pack ‘n Play and placed her on her stomach on a blanket. He left her to warm a bottle. 15 to 30 minutes later, she was dead. He never returned before she was blue. The DuPage Coroner ruled the death was undetermined.
Alone with 20 children
Jason Hart’s wife, Kimberly, president of the corporation has been indicted on multiple licensing violations. Facts showed that Kimberly Hart left to run errands after another employee left on her lunch break.
This left Jason Hart alone with 20 children, which was in violation of Illinois State licensing requirements pertaining to the ratio of employees to children. “This senseless death is what happens when people do not follow the law for child care and supervision,” said Corboy & Demetrio Partner Francis Patrick Murphy. “Trying to care and supervise 20 children alone was insane.”
Tessa McDaniel is survived by her mother, Katlyn; her father, Sean; and her 3 1/2-year-old sister, Nora.
“This was not an isolated incident,” said Rene Torrado, Jr., a partner at Corboy & Demetrio. “We discovered evidence these child care and supervision violations were occurring for years.”
The settlement amount was the extent of the corporation’s insurance coverage. The home day care corporation has been closed by DCFS. The house is for sale.
The McDaniel family was also represented by Corboy & Demetrio Co-founder Thomas Demetrio.
Case information: Case#2017L120, Katlyn McDaniel v. Tender Hart’s Family Home Care and Learning, Inc. and Jason Hart, DuPage Co. Illinois Circuit Court.