Res-Care Inc. v. Roto-Rooter Services Co., 753 F. Supp. 2d 970 (N. D. Cal. 2010)

Theresa Rodriguez was a severely developmentally disabled woman who who lived in a residential care facility, McGarvey House. She relied on staff for basic daily activities, including showering. A plumber with Roto-Rooter came to the McGarvey House to install a new hot water heater, setting the temperature to between “high” and “warm,” higher than the manufacturer’s recommended settings. In the days leading up to the May 5, 2004 incident, temperature fluctuations up to 135 degrees were noted. That evening, Oretha Ocansey, an employee with McGarvey House, gave Ms. Rodriguez a shower. As a result of the shower, Rodriguez suffered second degree burns over 20% of her body. The burns were not reported until a couple hours later when blisters and peeling skin were witnessed. After the burn, Ms. Rodriguez underwent painful treatment, was restricted to an acute care hospital facility, and became dependent on a ventilator.

The Conservatorship of Ms. Rodriguez filed a civil lawsuit against Res-Care, RCCA, Kelli Stanton Clarke, Alfredo Mercado, Frederick Porche and Oretha Ocansey for damages from the burn injuries, alleging violations of the state’s elder abuse act, as well as negligence and breach of fiduciary duty. Res-Care entered into a settlement agreement with the Conservatorship, settling in the amount of $8.5 million.

Fox v. Delgado, No. 2:11-cv-0419 JAM AC (E.D. Cal. Dec. 19, 2013)

On the morning of January 29, 2010, Nancy Fox dropped off her two and a half year old son, M.F., at Jasmine Delgado’s apartment for babysitting. While Nancy provided clothes, socks and shoes for the day, at the time M.F. was dropped off, he was still wearing his footy pajamas. In the afternoon, Delgado called Ms. Fox, asking her to pick up her son as soon as possible. When Ms. Fox got there, she noticed her son, without socks or shoes on, with his feet pink to red, had large blisters, and pieces of skin coming away.

Ms. Fox took M.F. to a medical clinic, where the doctors diagnosed an immersion burn, and he was to be taken to Shriners Burn Center Hospital. At the hospital, Ms. Fox was told that M.F.’s injuries were caused by having his feet immersed into a hot liquid.

Plaintiffs Barry and Narcisa Fox, M.F.’s parents, filed a lawsuit against the City of Rancho Cordova, County of Sacramento, three sheriff’s deputies, employees of Child Protective Services, and the babysitter, Jasmine Delgado. The lawsuit against Delgado alleged negligence leading to the burn injuries. The city, county, sheriff’s deputies and CPS all settled, leaving the remaining claim against Delgado. The parents alleged M.F. suffered bodily injury while in the care of Delgado that do not normally occur in the absence of negligence. Their first amended complaint sought damages of not less than $200,000.

Delgado never filed a response to the complaint, and the plaintiffs eventually filed a renewed motion for default judgment against Delgado. After a review of the case, the United States Magistrate Judge recommended finding for the plaintiffs against Delgado for negligence, recommended a judgment entered against Delgado in the amount of $200,000 for M.F.’s injuries.

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