ROSELAND - An Essex County jury awarded a $166 million verdict against the state for failing to remove a young boy from his abusive father.
The award was given Friday to 4-year-old Jadiel Velesquez who sustained severe brain damage after he was beaten by his father, lawyers say.
Jadiel's grandmother, Noemi Escobar, sued the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services, accusing it of failing to remove the boy from his home after he was brought to the hospital with unexplained bruises.
"Jadiel's grandmother called almost on a daily basis begging DFYS to remove Jadiel from the home," says attorney David Mazie. "They told her to stop calling."
Mazie says the DFYS case worker admits he knew Jadiel was in danger, but did not remove him from the home.
Jadiel's father pleaded guilty to beating his son and is serving a six-year prison term, lawyers said.