Civil lawyer: New lawsuit to be filed on behalf of 3-year-old videotaped at daycare

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A lawyer representing a Santa Clarita Valley woman whose 3-year-old daughter was allegedly recorded on video with her buttocks exposed at a local daycare plans to file a new lawsuit expanding on the allegations contained in the first case filed against the daycare.

Monday, on the steps of a Los Angeles courthouse, Pasadena attorney Brian Claypool handed passersby documents he said show a clear injustice done to his client.

Claypool said he was retained by the child’s mother about six weeks ago, replacing previous lawyers who in November filed a civil complaint with the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, naming as the defendant, Cadence Education LLC, owners of the Sunshine Child Care & Learning Centers on Wiley Canyon Road, and demanding a jury trial.

Reached by phone Wednesday, Claypool said he plans to file a new case on behalf of the mother. “The child is undergoing intense therapy,” he said.

Claypool said he plans to file a court motion to dismiss the federal lawsuit filed in November so he can legally file a fresh lawsuit at the state level.

The civil action filed in November sought compensatory damages and punitive damages, alleging among other things that the Sunshine Child Care & Learning Centers on Wiley Canyon Road was negligent in its hiring of the teacher who allegedly took the video.

According to Claypool, the same teacher — no longer employed at the daycare — videotaped the girl’s naked bottom as she napped at school and disseminated the video on the social media platform, Snapchat, with the caption, “She is ready for that three-day weekend.”

The attorney said he has a former Sunshine employee — possibly two — prepared to testify in court.

“They are going to talk about the culture at the learning center that they have generated and perpetuated, which needs to be flushed out into the open,” he said.

Part of the reason Claypool took to handing out fliers on the case Monday was to draw attention, he said, to an injustice, alleging investigators at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department or the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office have not done anything with the case.

However, Sgt. Brian Hudson with the LASD Special Victims Bureau said Wednesday: “The case was submitted to the district attorney’s office. We are waiting for a decision on whether criminal charges will be filed.”

A message left Wednesday seeking comment from the former Sunshine employee named in the November civil suit was not returned.

Although phone messages left Wednesday with officials at Sunshine Learning Center were also not returned, officials issued a written statement in November when news of the alleged incident and ensuing lawsuit became public.

Jennifer Parsons, regional director for Sunshine Learning Centers, said in the written statement their employees took the appropriate immediate action at the time of the incident, which she described as isolated.

“The privacy of our students is of paramount importance to us and our employees,” Parsons wrote. “We swiftly addressed an isolated incident in which a former employee posted a photo of a student on social media: Upon learning of the post, our management team took immediate action to have the image removed.

“The former employee was terminated for violating company policy, and the student’s parents were promptly notified. We are aware that a lawsuit has been filed,” Parsons wrote. “As it is ongoing, we’re currently unable to comment further on specifics. We continue to focus on ensuring all of our students receive an exceptional education in a safe and nurturing environment.”

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