A Montgomery County jury has awarded $15 million to the estate of a 9-year-old boy that plaintiffs say died in 2013 from his foster parent and social worker's reckless mismanagement of his medical needs.
The jury deliberated for about 90 minutes before returning the unanimous verdict on Aug. 5, a statement from Alexander Shunnarah's law office says.
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According to the complaint filed in Montgomery County, Adarion Curry was placed into the custody of the Alabama Department of Human Resources in 2013 when he was 8 years old. His DHR case worker, Kristi Kelley, and foster care provider Becky Van Gilder were defendants in the case.
The child suffered from sickle cell anemia, but his condition was managed by medication and close monitoring, and limitation of physical activity.
The day he was placed in DHR custody, Curry's prescription medications and medical information were provided to Kelley and/or Van Gilder, according to the complaint. The defendants refused or otherwise failed to administer the child's required medication and monitor his physical activity, the plaintiffs argued.
On May 29, Curry woke up in the middle of the night with breathing troubles. One of his siblings alerted Van Gilder that Curry was struggling, but nothing was immediately done to help.
The same morning, Curry woke up at 6 a.m. and began crying, saying "he could not breathe and felt that he was suffocating," the complaint states. He was taken to Baptist South Medical Center in Montgomery where he was diagnosed with acute chest syndrome, a complication of sickle cell anemia.
A day later, Curry was transferred to Children's Hospital for further treatment of his progressively worsening symptoms of acute chest syndrome. He died at 7:22 p.m. on May 30.
Arnold Curry, the administrator of the child's estate, filed the wrongful death suit in 2015. Will O'Rear is listed as the plaintiff and administrator of the child's estate in later court filings.
The case was brought to trial by attorneys Andrew Moak (Alexander Shunnarah Trial Attorneys), Turnbull, and Robert LeMoine (Turnbull, Holcomb & LeMoine, P.C).
"We worked for seven years to bring this case to trial," Moak said. "When DHR chooses to take a child into its custody, whatever its reason may be, the child does not have a choice in the matter. This child died because adults who took responsibility for his life disregarded their rules and their training and unnecessarily allowed him to slip into a medical crisis that he did not survive. They knew this little boy had a dangerous disease and knew what could happen to him if they ignored its symptoms, but they refused medical care until it was too late."
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This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Montgomery Co. jury awards $15M to deceased child's estate