A Dallas County jury on Thursday awarded $142 million to a family whose 7-month-old child accidentally suffocated at an Oak Cliff daycare two years ago.
The jury found that All in the Family childcare, a home daycare in Kings Highway, was negligent when they swaddled the baby and laid him on his side for nap. He was found two hours later, face down on the adult bed where he had been put down.
Zac and Heather Lytle, who won the suit on behalf of their son, Roger, say it’s unlikely they will ever see any money from the suit. The daycare’s owner, Gina Moore, apparently doesn’t have any money, and she didn’t have insurance for her business.
The Dallas Morning News reports that this is one of the largest jury awards in the country for this type of case.
The Lytles’ attorney, Rob Crain, originally had sued for $7 million, and he told the newspaper “the jury wanted to make a statement, loud and clear.”
The Dallas County District Attorney had declined to prosecute the case, so a civil suit was the Lytles’ only way of seeking justice for their son. Their attorneys knew early on it would be unlikely they’d recover any money from the case, and they took it anyway.
The Lytles currently are living in Lilongwe, Malawi, where Heather, an OB/GYN who trained at Parkland, is serving a global women’s health fellowship through Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. They returned to Dallas for their court case, and they still own a home in Oak Cliff.
They spent about $5,000 of the money donated in memory of Roger to start the new disc-golf course at Founders Park, and they are working to have the course named for their son.
Full disclosure: Zac and Heather Lytle are the best people. They also have a 14-month-old daughter named Abigail, who is one of the happiest and most adorable babies of all time; she happens to be my goddaughter.