ABC 7 News reported a mother and daughter who co-own a daycare center in San Jose have been arrested and charged following the drowning of two toddlers. The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office confirmed the arrest of Nina Fathizadeh, 31, and her mother Shahin Gheblehshenas, 64, who surrendered to police at SJPD headquarters on Friday after the incident that occurred off Fleetwood Drive in San Jose, CA.
The heartbreaking incident occurred at the Happy Happy Daycare on October 2, 2023, when three young children tragically fell or jumped into the daycare's pool. Shockingly, authorities have revealed that neither Fathizadeh nor her mother, nor any other adult, were supervising the children at the time of the incident.
According to the district attorney's office, Gheblehshenas had left the premises that morning to visit another unlicensed daycare, leaving four children under the care of her daughter. During this time, Fathizadeh was occupied with preparing breakfast and left one child in a crib while allowing the other three into the unsupervised rear patio play area, out of her sight.
Tragically, it was during this period of unsupervised play that the children accessed the pool through a propped open gate. Five minutes later, Fathizadeh discovered one child floating in the pool and immediately initiated CPR. Simultaneously, her brother, who had arrived home, found the other two toddlers floating unconscious in the deep end. Despite their efforts, two of the children were pronounced dead. The third child remains in critical condition but is expected to recover.
Investigators determined that the tragedy was facilitated by a propped open pool gate, which allowed the toddlers access to the pool area. Shockingly, neither owner had checked the gate before the children were let into the backyard, despite it being propped open previously for watering plants.
An investigation report revealed that Fathizadeh's husband, who typically waters the plants by the pool, had inadvertently propped open the gate. Unfortunately, he failed to close the gate after completing his task.
As the investigation unfolds, Fathizadeh and Gheblehshenas have been charged with felony child endangerment. They are scheduled to be arraigned on December 6. The charges reflect the grave consequences of their alleged failure to provide adequate supervision and ensure the safety of the children entrusted to their care.
In the wake of a recent heartbreaking incident at a San Jose daycare center where two toddlers tragically drowned, the issue of accountability and justice for the victims and their families comes to the forefront. To further detail the legal options available, we sat down with Bobby Thompson, Esq., a highly regarded swimming pool accident attorney in California. In this interview, Mr. Thompson addresses how families affected by such accidents can seek justice through civil lawsuits against negligent daycare owners.
Editor Darla Medina (DM): Welcome, Mr. Thompson.
Bobby Thompson, Esq. (BT): Thank you for having me, Darla. It's an important topic to address, especially given the recent tragic incident at the San Jose daycare center.
DM: Absolutely, Mr. Thompson. Can you explain to our readers how families affected by such devastating accidents may pursue legal action against daycare owners?
BT: Certainly, Darla. When a child drowns due to the negligence of daycare owners or staff, the family may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In these cases, the burden of proof lies in establishing that the daycare center breached its duty of care, leading to the child's drowning. Negligence can be shown by demonstrating that the owners or staff failed to provide adequate supervision, neglected to maintain a safe environment, or ignored safety protocols.
DM: And what are some of the potential outcomes families can expect from such lawsuits?
BT: If successful, families may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of future earnings, and the emotional pain and suffering endured. Additionally, a successful lawsuit can hold the negligent daycare owners accountable and send a strong message to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
DM: That's crucial, Mr. Thompson. In cases like this, what factors are typically considered when determining daycare owner negligence?
BT: When assessing negligence, several factors are evaluated. This includes reviewing the daycare center's safety protocols, staff training, supervision practices, compliance with licensing requirements, and any prior incidents or complaints. It is important to thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident to build a strong case and establish liability.
DM: I see. Are there any specific laws or regulations in California that govern daycare centers and hold them accountable for the safety of children?
BT: Absolutely. California has specific regulations in place to ensure the safety of children in daycare facilities. These regulations outline guidelines for staff-to-child ratios, safety measures, and appropriate supervision. Violations of these regulations can significantly contribute to establishing negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit.
DM: Thank you for shedding light on that, Mr. Thompson. Lastly, what advice would you offer to families who find themselves in similar tragic circumstances?
BT: My advice would be to consult with an experienced attorney who specializes in swimming pool accidents and wrongful death cases. These attorneys can provide guidance, investigate the incident thoroughly, and help families navigate the legal process during such a difficult time. It's crucial to act promptly, as there are time limits on filing wrongful death claims.
DM: Thank you, Mr. Thompson, for sharing your insights on this important matter. We appreciate your time and expertise.
BT: It was my pleasure, Darla. Thank you for raising awareness about this issue and providing valuable information to the community.