Ohio Supreme Court Rules That a Hamilton County Grandmother Can Sue Over Murdered Child

Desena Bradley’s granddaughter died in 2015 when she was 2 years old after significant abuse and a “tragic — and perhaps preventable — incident."

click to enlarge The Ohio Supreme Court said a grandmother can sue Hamilton County for failing to investigate abuse claims before her granddaughter was murdered by the child’s parents. - Photo: Courtesy of the Ohio Supreme Court
Photo: Courtesy of the Ohio Supreme Court
The Ohio Supreme Court said a grandmother can sue Hamilton County for failing to investigate abuse claims before her granddaughter was murdered by the child’s parents.


The Ohio Supreme Court said a grandmother can sue Hamilton County for failing to investigate abuse claims before her granddaughter was murdered by the child’s parents.

Court justices said Desena Bradley could continue with her lawsuits against government agencies in Hamilton County, which she said “breached their duty to protect” the child from harm and ended protective supervision of the 2-year-old “in bad faith, in a wanton and willful manner, and resulted in the deprivation of the civil rights of the infant,” along with leading to her death, according to the case details.

The court said an exception to government immunity could be appropriate in the case, allowing Bradley to sue the individuals.

Bradley’s granddaughter, Glenara Bates, died in 2015 when she was 2 years old after a “tragic — and perhaps preventable — incident” in which the child was hospitalized with “significant signs of abuse,” according to court documents.

Glenara's parents, Glen Bates and Andrea Bradley, were convicted of her murder, according to Fox19.

The supreme court had to decide whether or not Bradley’s case had enough information to be considered by a court, and though her complaint “could perhaps have been more clearly written, we conclude that it did all that was required” for a court to consider whether government officials with the Hamilton County JFS should or should not have legal immunity to a lawsuit.

Bradley will still need to prove her claims and “demonstrate that the caseworkers conduct really was wanton or reckless."

A coroner’s report showed more than 100 injuries, some which were “months” old, with a cause of death determined to be “battered child syndrome with acute chronic intercranial hemorrhages and starvation.”

Because the onset of injuries could be found to be months before the girl was admitted to the hospital, Justice Patrick DeWine said caseworkers with the Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services could have investigated the care of the child, therefore Bradley could continue with her lawsuit against Hamilton County could continue.

“If (the child’s) injuries at the time of her death were as pervasive and severe as alleged, one can draw an inference that the injuries should have been noticeable to the caseworkers at the home-visit three weeks earlier,” DeWine said. “And if the injuries would have been evident, the most reasonable inferences are either (1) that no home-visit was conducted or (2) that the home-visit was inadequate.”

The court ruled Bradley’s lawsuit will return to the lower court to continue the case.


This story was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal and republished here with permission.

Sign up for our weekly newsletters to get the latest on the news, things to do and places to eat delivered right to your inbox.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Scroll to read more Ohio News articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.