Some acts of inhumanity are so horrific we can barely believe our words as we type them. In an unspeakable event of unsurpassed magnitude, law enforcement reported today that a woman tossed her three-month old infant off the fourth-story parking garage adjacent to the Orange County Children’s Hospital. The incident occurred hours after the woman’s husband, also father of the child, reported the two missing to local authorities.
Amazingly, the child survived the initial despite sustained extensive injuries and trauma. The sex and identity of the child has not been released to the media but the baby continues to cling to life inside Orange County’s Children’s Hospital after a pedestrian saw the child’s fall and rushed to help.
The mother has undergone significant psychiatric therapy and reportedly struggled with extensive post-partum depression following the birth of this child. She was apparently medicated and is undergoing psychiatric evaluations at an undisclosed location. She has also been charged with the attempted murder of her child. Law enforcement stated that there is simply no way the child fell from the garage other than by being dropped or pushed- the guard rail is too tall for the baby to have inadvertently fallen.
Many probably wonder about the civil liability implications in a case like this. Can the mother be held liable for personal injuries sustained by her minor child? Absolutely. While a limited number of U.S. states recognize varying forms of parental immunity doctrines, California did away with absolute parental immunity after the pivotal 1971 case Gibson v. Gibson. That case held that despite the public policy of maintaining the family unit and avoiding inter-unit discord, California would join the ranks of states abrogating parental immunity in tort actions and allow children to recover against their parents for acts of negligence causing harm and damages.
It is our hope that this child makes a splendid recovery and that the perpetrator receives the help that she so clearly needs.