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The United Cerebral Palsy Association of the Inland Empire, along with nine other organizations and three people, is currently facing a civil suit after Anyah Raven Glossinger, a 5-year old autistic girl, died while participating in one of the UCP's programs.
In January 2008, Anyah, who was legally blind, was participating in swimming exercises associated with the UCP's "Little Bridges Program." Although Anyah and two other special needs children were being supervised by three health aides, Anyah slipped out of her floatation device and sunk to the bottom of the pool. The following day, she died.
Since this tragic event, the United Cerebral Palsy Association has suspended its "Little Bridge Program."
Also known as UCP or United Cerebral Palsy, the United Cerebral Palsy Association is a national charity that has been supporting, educating and serving the disabled for over 55 years. The UCP's chief goals are to help those with cerebral palsy be more independent, productive and integrated with society. To these ends, the UCP sponsors a variety of programs, some of which:
According to the UCP, its satellite offices across the U.S. assist over 170,000 disabled and cerebral palsy adults, special needs children and their families each day.
Emily Wereschagin, Anyah's mother, filed a civil suit against 13 defendants in September 2008. Among the defendants are:
Additionally, the three health aides present on the day of Anyah's accident – Sixto Mitre, Elva Lerma and Mariana Lerma – are also listed in this suit as defendants. None of these individuals are facing criminal charges, as authorities' investigations have found Anyah's death to be an accident.
According to the plaintiff, the negligence of all of the above listed entities contributed to Anyah's death. Both Wereschagin and her lawyer contend that, not only were the three health aides negligent in their supervisor roles, but that the UCP was also negligent, as this organization failed to appropriately hire and train its staff.
While the suit is still underway, a jury is expected to award Wereschagin sizeable damages in the coming months.
(Source: The Desert Sun)
Do you have a family member living with cerebral palsy? If so, contact a cerebral palsy lawyer for more information and resources regarding your legal rights.