Multiple plaintiffs awarded a combined $2,169,232.39 after children were assaulted at childcare centre

Jun 9, 2023 | Publication

The two children attended Footprints Childcare Centre, owned by Little Pigeon Pty Ltd, between 2008 and 2010, where Mr Bird worked and was a 1% shareholder in the company. Both of the child’s Mothers removed them from the centre upon hearing that Mr Bird had been arrested and charged with offences relating to another child at the centre.

Mr Bird, the Father of the owner of Little Pigeon, spent a considerable amount of time at the childcare centre, in which he claims he treated the children as if they were his own grandchildren. At times, Mr Bird was unsupervised and committed inappropriate acts, including acts of a sexual nature, towards the children. It was found that the lack of supervision was inconsistent with the childcare protection policies in place at the centre, and that precautions should have been undertaken to prevent Mr Bird being alone with any child. 

Both the children were awarded damages for their loss and ongoing suffering, as well as the Mothers of both children for the mental harm they have suffered as a consequence of these events – amounting to a combined total of $2,169,232.39. In addition, both Ms Clancy, the owner of Little Pigeon Pty Ltd, and the company itself, was found negligent in its operation of the childcare centre.

Outline

  • B and D both attended Footprints childcare centre, owned by Little Birds Pty Ltd, where Mr Bird who worked, and was a 1% shareholder. They were then removed upon Mr Bird being arrested and charged in relation to offences relating to other children who attended the centre.
  • It was found, Mr Bird assaulted both B and D, children of A and C respectively. 
  • Mr Bird found to be an employee and not a not volunteer
  • Little Birds Pty Ltd and Ms clancy (Director and owner) vicarious liable for Mr Bird’s actions as an employee, and further negligent

Negligence (B and D – Children)

  • No issue as to duty of care on B and D
  • Found there was a breach of this duty of care
  • Child protection policy not followed, allowing Mr Bird to be unsupervised with children
  • No issue of causation

Negligence (A and C – Mothers)

  • Found duty was owed
  • And that duty was breached
  • No issues with causation

Damages

A:

  • Non-economic loss: $158,000
  • Past out of pocket expenses: $$8,835.39 
  • Future out of pocket expenses: $58,478.46 
  • Past economic loss: $187,482.50
  • Past superannuation: $17,810.84
  • Future economic loss and superannuation: $111,000.
  • Past domestic assistance: $195,042.40
  • Future Domestic Assistance: $265.60 for life
  • Total: $736,649.59 

B:

  • Non-economic loss: $270,000
  • Exemplary damages: $70,000
  • Future out of pocket: $25,000
  • Future economic loss/superannuation: $100,000
  • Total: $465,000

C: 

  • Non-economic loss: $96,000
  • Past out of pocket: $6014.10
  • Future out of pocket expenses: $52,828.61
  • Past economic loss: $225,333.50
  • Past superannuation: $21,406.6
  • Future economic losss/Superannuation: $111,000
  • Total: $512,582.81

D:

  • Non-economic loss: $260,000
  • Exemplary damages: $70,000
  • Future out of pocket expenses: $25,000
  • Future economic loss/Superannuation: $100,000
  • Total: $455,000.00

Total Awarded damages: $2,169,232.39

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