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New York State Supreme Court Justice Doris Ling-Cohan ruled that a woman whose daughter sustained a traumatic brain injury at a city-licensed daycare center (First Steps) in 2000 could sue New York City. The woman researched several daycare centers before allowing her daughter to be put under the care of First Steps Daycare Center. Her criteria called for a “licensed, investigated, no-complaints babysitter” and one that had been thoroughly and routinely investigated by NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services.

The woman had no reason to fear for the safety of her child until the tragic day she found her 3-month old daughter on a stretcher and an ambulance waiting to take her to the hospital. Her daughter suffered traumatic brain injuries sustained from falling off a bed while the caretaker was bathing another child. The infant’s brain was further damaged when the caretaker shook her in an effort to revive her. The infant showed several signs of shaken baby syndrome.

Following the tragic incident, the woman discovered that First Steps had several complaints of child neglect filed against them. This discovery revealed that these complaints should have led NYC to revoke First Steps’ child care license. When the woman attempted to sue NYC and First Steps, the city submitted a motion to dismiss. The city claimed they had no special ties to First Steps and thus could not be held liable. A judge denied their motion and the city is now considering their legal options.

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