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A Campbellsville woman has filed suit against a local childcare facility, claiming an employee injured her child.
Local attorney Jon Hieneman filed the lawsuit in Taylor Circuit Court on Jan. 10 on behalf of Amber Hyde and her daughter, Jolie Maiz Morris.
Listed as defendants are Erica Gravel of 98 Spring Meadow Court in Campbellsville and Learning Tree Kids Zone Inc. of 703 Hudson St. in Columbia.
According to the complaint, Learning Tree Kids Zone operates a daycare business at 400 Campbellsville Bypass.
On Jan. 10, 2012, the complaint states, Hyde's child was taken to the Learning Tree childcare facility in Taylor County. While there, Hyde alleges, Gravel subjected her daughter to abusive mistreatment.
The complaint states that Gravel allegedly jerked Jolie from the ground by her left arm on one or more occasions.
As a result, the complaint alleges, Gravel, 29, was reckless in caring for Jolie and her actions injured the child.
The complaint alleges Jolie suffered temporary and permanent injuries and suffered great mental and physical pain.
Hyde claims that she incurred medical expenses on her daughter's behalf and Jolie suffered emotional distress after the incident.
The complaint states that Hyde believes Gravel's alleged actions constituted third-degree criminal abuse.
Gravel was ultimately charged with committing third-degree criminal abuse of a child younger than 12, which is a misdemeanor offense, and is scheduled to appear in Taylor District Court today for a pretrial conference.
Gravel was served with a criminal summons on Dec. 26. She has pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Hyde claims Learning Tree was negligent in its hiring practices and supervising its workers and in its investigation into the incident with her daughter.
She also claims Learning Tree didn't tell her that Jolie was injured until more than two days after the incident.
Learning Tree failed to comply with the state's minimum licensure regulations relating to the operation of a daycare facility, Hyde said, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services Office of Inspector General cited the daycare for those violations.
According to the state CHFS website, www.chfs.ky.gov, Learning Tree is a licensed childcare facility and three investigations have been performed at the location since January 2012.
An investigation report done on Jan. 12, 2012, in response to the incident allegedly involving Jolie, states that a staff member at Learning Tree witnessed another staff member jerk a child by the arm. While the staff member was pulling the child, the report states, the child's feet were dangling off the floor as the staff member took two steps.
The report states that the staff member witnessing the incident didn't report it and, therefore, the center failed to report it.
After interviews were completed, the report states, a surveillance video was reviewed and revealed that the staff member did jerk the child and the child's feet were dangling.
The child was taken for medical treatment after the incident, the report states, and the child's arm was put into a cast.
The person who jerked the child, according to the report, was terminated as a result of the incident, on the day it allegedly happened. The report doesn't name the staff members or child involved.
On March 8, 2012, Learning Tree applied for a renewal of its license. In a report, the center received many instances of compliance and five of non-compliance.
One staff person was found without documentation that he or she received training within 90 days of employment, as is required.
Disinfectant spray and bathroom cleaner were found on a shelf next to a changing center, a staff person didn't wash her hands before changing a diaper and a staff member was found to have not washed her hands after wiping a child's nose.
Lastly, a changing mat at the center was found with several torn areas.
On June 21, a complaint investigation was performed but a report states that it found the center to be in compliance. Details of the complaint aren't included.
On Aug. 2, an investigation was performed at the center and a report states that after it, the center was again found in compliance. Details of the investigation aren't included.
In her lawsuit, Hyde is asking for compensatory and punitive damages, court costs and a jury trial.
Lebanon attorney Dawn L. Spalding filed an answer to Hyde's complaint on Gravel's behalf on Feb. 6.
In the answer, Gravel denies all of Hyde's allegations. The answer states that if any of the events Hyde claims actually happened, her lawsuit isn't timely as it was filed outside of the one-year statute of limitations. Gravel asks that the claim against her be dismissed.
Louisville attorneys Robert E. Stopher and Michael S. Jackson filed an answer to Hyde's complaint on Learning Tree's behalf on Feb. 12.
The answer states that Learning Tree also denies Hyde's allegations and is barred from prosecution, citing state law and the statute of limitations. Learning Tree also asks that the claim against it be dismissed.
Spalding declined to comment on the case. Hieneman nor Stopher or Jackson returned phone calls to comment before press time.
As of Friday, there were no upcoming court dates in Hyde's civil case.