A $35.1 million Florida jury verdict will force the state to pay for the medical care of Marissa Amora, the toddler nearly beaten to death because of a botched child-abuse investigation. The Palm Beach Post says the jury found the Department of Children and Families was negligent. Marissa’s adoptive parents, Ric and Dawn Amora, had sued the state on behalf of the girl, now 6.
The six-member jury found the state 75 percent responsible for the negligence that left Marissa brain-damaged. Jurors found that 20 percent of the blame rests with Miami Children’s Hospital, which released Marissa despite the ongoing state investigation, and 5 percent went to her biological mother. Authorities believe the mother’s boyfriend beat the girl. The state tried to blame the hospital for failing to recognize the case as abuse. Marissa’s representatives must take her case to the legislature. Under Florida law, the state can pay damages only up to $100,000 per person and $200,000 per incident. Any payout above those figures requires legislative approval.