Oakleaf daycare sued for negligence, toddler ‘repeatedly injured’

·2 min read

An Oakleaf daycare is at the center of a lawsuit filed by Morgan & Morgan on behalf of a local mother and her one-year-old daughter.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, claims Kid City USA -- Oakleaf was negligent, and their lack of care left the toddler with a busted lip, black eye, and concussion.

“I’m a mom just like my client and I drop my kids off at daycare so that I can provide for my family — and I know she did the same. So it’s extremely concerning,” Sarah Foster, an attorney with Morgan & Morgan, said. Foster said there were repeated injuries. “The most severe, being a concussion. Anytime a child comes home from daycare and needs to go immediately to the hospital for an injury — especially head injury, is a big concern.”

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The complaint alleges the daycare failed to “properly care for, observe, and supervise” the child. It goes on to say Kid City USA failed to “adequately staff classrooms,” or hire qualified employees.

Foster said former employees have come forward and claim staff members would drink alcohol on the job. Attorneys on the case fear more young victims could be out there.

Ty Smothers, a local mother, said she had to take out her child after similar issues last April. “I am full of emotions. Because as a parent, you send your child to be protected by these people that you leave them with so early in the morning because you have to go to work.”

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Action News Jax reached out to Kid City USA at Oakleaf and was told “no comment” by the employee who answered. We also reached out to the facility’s corporate office which has not yet returned our request for comment.

Morgan & Morgan said there is supposedly security cameras in every classroom, though they are not sure if the employees held onto the video.

“We’re looking not just for answers on why these injuries occurred, how these injuries occurred — but also on accountability,” she said.

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Action News Jax found six violations on state inspection reports over the last year. Some of the violations were similar to those alleged in the lawsuit.

In October 2021, a state inspector said the staff-to-child ratio did not follow state guidelines. In January 2022, the facility was flagged for not having documentation that staff had begun introductory training within 90 days of employment.

In April 2022, the Department of Children and Families said the daycare failed to share an accident form with a parent.

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