The Deratany Firm In The News
We're proud to advocate for the rights of the injured in Chicago, throughout Illinois and beyond, and some of our cases have attracted substantial media attention. Read on to see The Deratany Firm in the news.
Lawsuit filed on behalf of five-year-old boy's estate
The Deratany Firm has filed a lawsuit against Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, in connection with the death of a five-year-old boy whose body was found in late 2017.
Jordan Rodriguez' remains were discovered in the backyard of his mother's Cleveland home in December 2017. His mother, Larissa Rodriguez, and her husband, Christopher Rodriguez, were sentenced to 25 and 28 years in prison respectively on charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, child endangerment and gross abuse of a corpse.
But according to attorney Jay Paul Deratany, Catholic Charities bears responsibility as well. He said caseworker Nancy Caraballo failed to meet her responsibility of keeping tabs on the family.
"Ms. Caraballo was supposed to conduct monthly home visits, check on the children and their living conditions, and file a report," said attorney Deratany. "But on at least 12 occasions, she failed to actually enter the home and filed false reports saying she had."
"The conditions in the home were absolutely deplorable. When police arrived, one of the children was eating a sandwich with cockroaches inside. Meanwhile, instead of doing her job and looking out for the children, Ms. Caraballo was engaged in a scheme with Ms. Rodriguez to buy her food stamps for cash. She took advantage of her position for personal gain, and that gross negligence cost Jordan his life."
Caraballo was released from prison in November after serving eight months of a three-year prison sentence for trafficking in food stamps, grand theft and tampering with records. However, according to Deratany, it's Catholic Charities as an organization, not just one rogue employee, that is responsible for Jordan's death.
"These kids are vulnerable, and the system is supposed to protect them. But there was no oversight and no accountability on the part of Catholic Charities," said Deratany. "It's absolutely unacceptable that one of their caseworkers filed a dozen false reports and no one noticed - or no one cared."
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the survivorship of Jordan Rodriguez on Tuesday, January 15 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Catholic Charities, Nancy Caraballo, Larissa Rodriguez and Christopher Rodriguez are named as defendants. In addition to The Deratany Firm, Randazzo Law is participating in the lawsuit as local counsel.
Lawsuit filed on behalf of five-year-old girl who was abused and murdered
The Deratany Firm has filed a lawsuit against Cuyahoga County's Department of Children and Family Services on behalf of the estate of a five-year-old girl who was murdered in 2017.
Ta'Naejah McCloud died after suffering severe head and brain injuries as well as burns. Prior to her death, she had been subjected to severe physical abuse and was living in a dilapidated, unsafe home. Ta'Naejah's mother and her girlfriend have been sent to prison for her death, but according to attorney Jay Paul Deratany, the Department of Children and Family Services bears responsibility as well.
"The home was dilapidated; it should have been condemned. She was five years old. There were cockroaches; there were rats in the home, and they ignored signs of abuse going on for six months," said Deratany. "The case worker had been there the day before and they had been there eight times in the previous month and there's no way, shape, or form that they should not have seen the signs and symptoms of this child being abused."
The lawsuit claims that the Department of Children and Families should have removed Ta'Naejah from the home. The firm is also investigating potential legal action against doctors, nurses and other parties who likewise should have seen the signs that Ta'Naejah was being abused.
The firm hopes the litigation will force the government to take more action to protect endangered children. "Of course we look for monetary damages, but that's the only way to impact; it's called impact litigation," said attorney Deratany.
"These kids, the most vulnerable, precious kids that we have in our society, they are dependent on the system and if the system fails them, this is what happens. We end up with a young, little girl who lost her life as a result of professionals who just didn't do their job. And I think that's what we are striving for to make sure that we can prevent this from happening," said attorney Roosevelt Allen.