- webp_DanielJSammel - Ainsman Levine

PITTSBURGH – The parent of a toddler-aged son alleges that the daycare facility she entrusted to care for her son was negligent in their duties, resulting in her son falling and sustaining a facial laceration to his left eye.

Varnell Biddle (individually, as parent and natural guardian of M.P., a minor) of Baldwin filed suit in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on May 10 versus Tutor Time Learning Centers, LLC (doing business as “Tutor Time of Pittsburgh”), of Pittsburgh.

“At some point prior to May 26, 2022, plaintiff placed her son, M.P., who was a two-year-old minor at that time, into the care of defendant, Tutor Time, with the expectation, belief and trust, that defendant, through their employees, agents, servants, assigns, owners and/or operators, would provide safe, appropriate, and satisfactory childcare services for her son. On or about May 26, 2022, during the time period in which defendant Tutor Time had possession, care and control of M.P., it is believed and therefore averred that its employees, agents, servants, assigns, owners and/or operators negligently, recklessly and/or carelessly failed to properly supervise and care for M.P., such that he was permitted to strike his head on some object within the facility. To date, nearly two years after this incident, plaintiff has never been given a consistent explanation as to how her son struck his head on May 26, 2022,” the suit says.

“During the day on May 26, 2022, plaintiff received a telephone call from an employee of defendant Tutor Time, informing her that M.P. had sustained a ‘small boo boo.’ Plaintiff requested that a photograph of her son be taken and transmitted to her using the Brightwheel phone application, which is, generally, software that permits communication between childcare facilities and parents. The photograph of M.P. that was sent to plaintiff, was taken at a distance and demonstrated blood on M.P.’s shirt. In response, plaintiff requested that a closer picture be taken of M.P.’s wound and that his bloody shirt be changed. In response to that, plaintiff received a closer photograph depicted a laceration above M.P.’s left eye.”

The suit adds that “upon seeing this photograph, plaintiff immediately left work and drove to Tutor Time to retrieve her son, M.P. and upon arrival, she was asked to sign an incident report stating that M.P., had indeed sustained the injury by running into a table” – as a result, M.P. “ultimately required four stitches after receiving local anesthetic to his temporal region via needle, which was a very traumatic and painful experience for the two-year-old to endure.”

“Also on May 26, 2022, plaintiff contacted the Tutor Time facility and spoke to an assistant director named Monica, to ask how M.P. sustained his injury. Monica told her that M.P. had been running outside and ran into a table. The next morning, May 27, 2022, plaintiff received a telephone call from the director of Tutor Time, Tiffany, during which Tiffany inquired as to how M.P.’s ‘boo boo’ was doing. Plaintiff became upset at the characterization of M.P.’s injury as a ‘boo boo,’ and felt that Tiffany was attempting to downplay the injury. Plaintiff asked Tiffany to explain exactly how M.P. sustained the injury. Tiffany initially said that Ms. Biddle would be permitted to watch the video of the incident, but the proceeded to tell Ms. Biddle three different accounts of what the video showed. The first account was that M.P. was running and ran into a table, which is what Monica had told Ms. Biddle the day before. Then, during the same conversation, Tiffany said that M.P. had been throwing his ball and lost his balance, which is how he hit the table. Then, also during the same conversation, Tiffany stated that M.P. had climbed up on a table and fell off,” the suit states.

“Plaintiff became upset at the fact that she had been told multiple different stories of how her son was injured, because the video could only show one true account and she wanted to know was that account was. Tiffany stated that she no longer felt comfortable speaking with Ms. Biddle. The next day, May 28, 2022, plaintiff received a telephone call from the regional director of Tutor Time, and was informing that defendant Tutor Time was immediately terminating services for M.P. because Ms. Biddle became upset during her phone conversation with Tiffany the day before. This incident was subsequently investigated by the Allegheny County Office of Children, Youth and Families. Plaintiff was told by the investigator that the incident report that had been provided to him by defendant Tutor Time was different than the incident report that Ms. Biddle had signed on the day of the incident. The investigator also told Ms. Biddle that he had been informed by defendant Tutor Time that the video footage of the incident had not been preserved.”

The suit asserts that M.P. “sustained a facial laceration above his left eye resulting in a scar, damage to the tear duct of his left eye, which may require surgical repair, significant emotional distress while receiving medical care and other possible serious and/or severe injuries, the extent of which is not yet known.”

For a lone count of negligence, the plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, for an amount in excess of the arbitration limits of this County, plus costs and interest.

The plaintiffs are represented by Daniel J. Sammel of Ainsman Levine, in Pittsburgh.

The defendant has not yet obtained legal counsel.

Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-24-005359

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nick.malfitano@therecordinc.com