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Mitigating the Incidence & Severity of Injuries & Other Harms

Bottomlee v. State of Arizona

Overview

Bottomlee v. State of Arizona (Arizona Court of Appeals, Jan. 28, 2020): A state appellate court reversed the dismissal of a wrongful death lawsuit by the mother of an infant who suffocated at a daycare. The court held she had stated a claim for gross negligence against the State and a state inspector who directed the daycare to use pillows for tummy time. The mother alleged the inspector investigated the daycare based on alleged violations of the Arizona Department of Health Services’ rules by using pillows in cribs. The inspector signed a correction plan directing the daycare to use pillows only for infant tummy time. The mother alleged the plan violated governmental authorities advising against the use of pillows during tummy time. In assessing the mother’s negligence claim, the court rejected the State’s argument that the inspector owed no specific duty to the infant or the mother. It held the State owed the infant a duty to conform to certain standards of care. The inspector created a special relationship with the infants at the daycare and therefore created the duty when, to protect the infants, he directed how the daycare should remedy its violation. Read the decision here.

View all cases in the Judicial Trends in Public Health – March 17, 2020.

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