(WIAT) — UPDATE: According to attorney Courtney French, the defendants in the wrongful death lawsuit are “attempting to seal the file from the public.”
French is the attorney for the grandmother of Jayden Brodie Allen. French filed the following (in part) in response to the defendants’ motion to seal the file:
The Defendants seek refuge in various statutes protecting the confidentiality of public records concerning various matters that are not germane to the issues before this Court in this wrongful death action, such as: recipients of and applicants for financial assistance1; the admission, progress, health and discharge of children at child-care facilities2; the protection of juveniles in juvenile proceedings3; and, the protective placement of aged or disabled adults.4 The confidentiality requirements of the Alabama Department of Human Resources (DHR) are meant to protect the identity of the child, not the negligent actions of individual child protective services workers of DHR.
A hearing will be held on Jan. 19 on the motion.
ORIGINAL: The grandmother of a one-year-old who died in a fiery crash in 2014 has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Shelby County Department of Human Resources.
20-month-old Jayden Brodie Allen was killed after a single car accident left the vehicle engulfed in flames. According to the lawsuit filed by Jayden’s paternal grandmother Alta Renee Allen, Jayden’s mother Sommer Wilford “failed to inform the first responders that her child” was in the vehicle. Investigators said Wilford was standing outside her burning car when emergency crews arrived. They said she never told anybody that her son was still inside the car. It wasn’t until fire crews put the fire out that they realized the child was in the back seat.
The lawsuit says Jayden died as a result of the defendants, listed as Lashandra Bell-Moore, a caseworker employed by DHR, Kim Mashego, the Director of the Shelby County DHR, and Lorie McCullough, a supervisor with DHR, returning Jayden to the “unsafe custody of his Mother…who was known by the Defendants to be a severe drug abuser.”
After Jayden’s remains were found following the fiery crash, Wilford was taken into custody and charged with reckless murder.
According to the lawsuit, Jayden was first removed from his parents’ care by the defendants around October 23, 2012, “due to confirmed reports of abuse and/or neglect,” and was placed in the custody of his grandmother Alta Allen.
The lawsuit states Jayden was returned to his parents’ custody on or around August 6, 2013 and “affirmatively placed in a position of imminent danger that he would not have otherwise faced.” The lawsuit alleges the defendants Bell-Moore, Mashego and McCullough “negligently and/or wantonly failed to conduct mandatory home visits to ensure the continuous safety” of Jayden.
Copyright 2015 WIAT 42 News