Originally created 06/19/02

Day-care accident lawsuit stays open



A lawsuit filed by a mother who says she doesn't believe it will provide the money to keep her severely disabled son alive will continue.

Jackie Boatwright is suing Maria Anderson, the owner of a private day-care center where Ms. Boatwright's toddler fell into an unattended mop bucket filled with bleach and water Sept. 9. Because Ms. Anderson did not respond to the lawsuit before the legal deadline to do so, Ms. Boatwright's attorney asked for a default judgment.

The medical bills for her son Juan are astronomical, attorney Richard Ingram said Tuesday at a court hearing. The doctor and hospital bills so far total $265,000, and the medical equipment, medications and skilled nursing care cost an estimated $208,000 a year, he said.

The lawsuit, filed March 7 in Richmond County Superior Court, seeks monetary damages to cover the medical expenses, but Ms. Boatwright and Mr. Ingram said that, realistically, they expect to see nothing.

"We're doing this because it has to be done," he said.

Ms. Boatwright has begun a crusade to change state law. In Georgia, licensed day-care centers don't have to carry liability insurance. At 7 a.m. Saturday, she will lead a "Walk for Change" to bring attention to her cause and persuade lawmakers to require day-care centers to carry insurance or inform parents if they do not.

On Tuesday, Judge Albert M. Pickett declined to rule on a motion for summary judgment.

Attorney David Weber, representing Ms. Anderson, told the judge he thought Mr. Ingram had agreed to let him respond to the lawsuit after the legal deadline had passed. Mr. Ingram said he thought that because the conversation took place before the deadline, Mr. Weber intended to file a response before the deadline.

Judge Pickett asked the attorneys to research the issue and then present their positions to him.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or shodson@augustachronicle.com.

What's next: At 7 a.m. Saturday, Jackie Boatwright will lead a "Walk for Change" along Washington Road to bring attention to her cause.