A lawsuit brought by the family of a two-year old boy who died after contracting E. coli in a Greenwood, South Carolina, daycare has been resolved by payment of $1 million to the family of Myles Mayfield. Attorney Eric Hageman was the lead lawyer for this case.
Evidence in the case showed that a teacher in the daycare got sick in early May of 2015 and was subsequently notified by the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control she had tested positive for E. coli. Deposition testimony revealed the daycare directors were aware of the teacher’s positive E. coli test, yet took no action, ignoring state regulations requiring exclusion of the teacher and notification of the parents. When questioned in the lawsuit, the directors claimed they did not know the regulations required notification of the parents and that they were not aware of the dangers of E. coli.
“Myles first got sick on May 26th and tested positive for E. coli on May 29th,” said attorney Hageman. “At that time, the Mayfield family had been told nothing about the presence of E. coli at The Learning Vine. Had they known on May 19th that a teacher who tested positive for E. coli was continuing to teach, in violation of state regulations, the Mayfields could have made a different choice with Myles. Instead, the family was kept in the dark and Myles died from the same strain of E. coli as the teacher had.”
“The result of the daycare’s failures in this case was as predictable as it was tragic,” Hageman said. “E. coli is incredibly dangerous to young children, which is why we require teachers to stay away until we know they are no longer a danger. If the rules were followed here, this tragedy could have been avoided.” Addressing the settlement, Hageman also said, “The family’s objectives in filing this lawsuit were clear and unwavering – to find out exactly what caused Myles to get sick and to hold accountable those who were responsible for his death. Throughout the course of this case, we have achieved those objectives.”
Barry Mayfield also issued a statement on behalf of the family:
“This lawsuit was never about money. All the money in the world can’t bring back Myles. By filing this lawsuit, we just wanted some accountability, so that no other family would ever have to lose a child the way our family did. We hope that by shining a light on what happened to Myles, future tragedies can be avoided. While we will forever feel the pain of the loss of Myles, we are dedicated to ensuring that his death was not in vain and that those responsible for operating daycares will follow the rules and will put the safety of children first.
We are hopeful our family can move past all of the anger and pain so that healing can occur. Our goal is to release the hurt we feel and to focus on making those we entrust with taking care of our children aware of the dangers of E. coli and other bacteria. If something good can come out of something bad, we would feel that Myles’s death was not in vain.”
Several news outlets have been covering this story. Below are links to their coverage: