KENOSHA, Wisc. (CN) - A child-care screening service recommended a nanny who had a "history of alcohol and violence," and she got drunk on the job and killed a 3-month-old baby, the parents claim in court.
Defendant Sarah Gumm aka Sarah Koehn aka Sarah Rachoner is in the Lake County jail, the parents say in the lawsuit.
Nathan and Reggan Koopmeiners sued Gumm and the child-care screening service, Care.com, of Waltham, Mass., in Kenosha County Court.
The Koopmeiners say they hired Gumm after electronically signing a contract with Care.com, paying a fee, and an additional fee for what Care.com called its highest level of background check, a "'Premier Background Check' to screen and recommend candidates."
The parents claim that Care.com did its job negligently, which led them to hire Gumm, and led to the death of their baby on July 27, 2012.
"Care.com advertises and represents itself as one of the largest online marketplaces for individuals seeking home and care services and provides recommendations for child care and nanny services in the State of Wisconsin," the complaint states.
Care.com claims that its Premier Background Check includes "Social Security Number Verification, National Criminal Database search, National Sex Offender Registry search, State/County Criminal Records search, United States District Court Criminal Records search, Driving Records search, National Bankruptcy Records search, National Wants and Warrants search, and Civil Restraining Search," according to the complaint.
But the Koopmeiners claim that Care.com missed, or failed to report, that Gumm had an Oct. 20, 2010 DUI citation; another DUI citation on Nov. 5, 2010; an April 29, 2004 "battery matter;" and an Aug. 20, 2012 "criminal felony matter."
Unaware of all this, the Koopmeiners say, they hired Gumm on Care.com's recommendation.
While Gumm was babysitting their 3-month-old child, Rylan, on July 27, 2012, she left the baby "unattended on several occasions to take a taxi cab to a local pharmacy and on each occasion purchased a 1.5 liter bottle of wine," the lawsuit states.
It continues: "That on said date, defendant, Gumm, while providing child care and nanny services to plaintiff, Rylan, did so under the influence of alcohol. That on said date, defendant, Gumm, while providing child care and services to plaintiff, Rylan, and while under the influence of alcohol, defendant, Gumm negligently struck and/or
slammed plaintiff, Rylan on her head causing a head injury and, ultimately, plaintiff, Rylan's untimely death."
A police investigation revealed Gumm's "history of alcohol and violence," the parents say.
They seek punitive damages for negligence, gross negligence and misrepresentation, and funeral costs.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wisconsin is an involuntary co-plaintiff. Two unidentified insurance companies (DEF and GHI) are named as defendants.
The Koopmeiners are represented by Gail C. Groy, with Scherr & Scherr, of Milwaukee, and by Rizzo & Diersen, of Kenosha.