These Parents Have Every Right To Sue Care.com For Their Baby’s Tragic Death
This is a story you are not going to want to read if you are in the regular practice of hiring babysitters, like I am. A Wisconsin couple has recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the childcare service website Care.com, after their three month old daughter Ryland died in 2012 under the care of a nanny. The nanny has been charged with first-degree murder and has pled not guilty.
This story hits very close to home for me as my husband and I have seriously considered Care.com to use for babysitting in a pinch. There was a period of time last year when we just couldn’t get a good babysitter to stick. Finally, one of our young women babysitters worked out, referred through church, and we have been using her ever since.
These parents found their nanny Sarah Gumm via Care.com, who was later alleged to be responsible for their daughter’s death:
According to the suit, Gumm, 33, repeatedly left the 3-month-old unattended while she allegedly took a taxi to a local pharmacy and purchased wine. The lawsuit goes on to allege that Gumm was under the influence of alcohol while providing nanny services and “negligently struck and/or slammed Rylan on her head causing a head injury” and ultimately, death.
The infant’s parents say that they paid for the “Premier Background Check” on Gumm, the highest level of background check offered by Care.com, but that the site was negligent in performing the check.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims a law enforcement investigation revealed that Gumm had a history of alcohol abuse and violence, including two DUI citations in 2010, a criminal felony matter in 2012 and a 2004 battery incident. Despite this, the Koopmeinerses say the site presented Gumm’s background as “suitable for providing child care and nanny services.”
This is just horrifying, and my heart breaks for these parents. I know we can all agree that this type of babysitting outcome is literally every parent’s worst nightmare. While I am normally reluctant to support people in our “sue happy” culture, if I was in these parents’ shoes and had trusted a reputable website like Care.com enough to invest in the Premier Background Check, livid would not even begin to describe how I was feeling.
Care.com released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by this event. In following up with our safety team, we’re sorry to report that the family did not avail themselves of the background checking services for this provider and thus the facts as reported are incorrect. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family.”
At this point, nothing can be done to give back with these parents have lost. If what they are saying is true and Care.com did not provide an accurate background check for their nanny, resulting in their daughter’s death, their negligence is reprehensible. These parents have every right to sue.