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Name: Los Angeles County v. Superior Court (Y.G.)
Case #: B241552
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 11/15/2012

Dependency petition should not have been dismissed where evidence showed father was negligent in seeking medical care for sibling, resulting in her death. The juvenile court dismissed a dependency petition seeking to have Cesar declared a dependent of the court on the ground that 20-month old Jasmine died while in the custody of Cesar’s father. The Department sought a writ of mandate to set aside the dismissal order. The appellate court granted the petition for writ, finding that the juvenile court erred when it declined to take jurisdiction. The evidence permitted only one conclusion. Both the coroner and physician confirmed that given the severity of the toddler’s injuries, it would have been obvious that she was in pain and needed immediate medical care. There was visible evidence of bruises and bite marks and her belly was distended. The experts testified that if she had received medical attention after the injury, she could have been saved. It need not be resolved whether appellant was the adult who beat the toddler or whether another adult perpetrated the act. The evidence indisputably showed that but for appellant’s failure to seek immediate medical care, she would not have died. Appellant’s negligence was a substantial factor in Jasmine’s death, and therefore Cesar was not safe in appellant’s custody.