HONOLULU (AP) - A Hawaii appeals court upheld a ruling that the state Department of Human Services was negligent in the death of a 14-month-old boy at the hands of his father, a Navy diver.
The state attorney general’s office was reviewing whether to appeal the decision to the Hawaii Supreme Court.
The initial ruling in 2013 awarded $134,000 to the boy’s maternal grandmother, and interest is accruing while the state mulls over its next move in the case, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (https://ow.ly/GWLAC) reported Wednesday.
Matthew McVeigh was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the 2009 killing of his son Brayden, who suffered massive hemorrhaging and a severely swollen brain from being struck or shaken. McVeigh, who was based at Pearl Harbor at the time of his son’s death, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The civil ruling found the state to be negligent in the death, saying a social worker repeatedly dropped the ball in monitoring the child’s well-being. Brayden’s short life was “marred by violence and pain,” Circuit Judge Gary W.B. Chang wrote in his ruling.
In its Dec. 30 decision, the Intermediate Court of Appeals said, “It is undisputed that the decedent fell within the class of children DHS is statutorily obligated to protect and that DHS had a duty to prevent further abuse to him.”
The baby tested positive for opiates when he was born, Chang said, and his father was prone to intermittent fits of anger or violence.
Court records show Brayden’s broken in arm in 2008 was classified as suspected abuse and neglect, and the Department of Human Services put him and his sister in temporary foster care.
The children were returned to their parents six months later.
State lawyers told the newspaper there was no evidence the department made a mistake in handling the case.
Department spokeswoman Kayla Rosenfeld declined to comment further when contacted by The Associated Press about the negligence ruling, only saying the department is working with the attorney general’s office to review the appellate decision.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com
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