Family settles for $1 million in death of infant at Lombard day care

Updated 6/21/2017 2:20 PM

The family of a 3-month-old girl who died at a Lombard day care in November has settled a $1 million lawsuit against the center's insurance company.

DuPage County Judge Brian McKillip approved the settlement of the insurance policy limits earlier this month on behalf of Tessa McDaniel's estate, which is administered by her mother, Katlyn McDaniel.


According to the wrongful death lawsuit filed in January, the owner of Tender Hart's Family Home Daycare and Learning, Inc., 28 S. Lodge, left Tessa on her stomach unsupervised for 15 to 30 minutes, ultimately leading to her death.

On Nov. 15, 2016, Jason Hart was responsible for supervising 20 children by himself, according to the suit. One of those children, Tessa, was placed facedown on a blanket while Hart left to get a bottle, according to the lawsuit. When he returned, Tessa was blue and not breathing.

Hart's wife, Kimberly Hart, was running errands after another employee left on her lunch break.

That left Jason Hart alone with 20 children, which was in violation of Illinois State licensing requirements that require every four infants to be supervised by at least one adult.

"This senseless death is what happens when people do not follow the law pertaining to child care and supervision," said McDaniel's attorney, Patrick Murphy. "Trying to care for and supervise 20 children alone was insane."

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Kimberly Hart, president of the corporation, has been indicted on eight licensing violations.

The $1 million settlement amount was the extent of the corporation's insurance coverage. After attorney fees, the McDaniels were awarded a total of $748,310.34. The home day care corporation has been closed by DCFS. The house is for sale.

Neither the Harts nor their attorney could immediately be reached for comment.

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