A Kenosha, Wisconsin, couple is suing the popular child care website Care.com for the death of their baby girl.
Prosecutors say 3-month-old Rylan Koopmeiners died of blunt force trauma on July 27, 2012, while under the care of Sarah Gumm, a nanny the girl’s parents found on Care.com. Now, Nathan and Reggan Koopmeiners claim the website is partially responsible for their daughter’s death.
According to the suit, Gumm, 33, repeatedly left the 3-month-old unattended while she allegedly took a taxi to a local pharmacy and purchased wine. The lawsuit goes on to allege that Gumm was under the influence of alcohol while providing nanny services and “negligently struck and/or slammed Rylan on her head causing a head injury” and ultimately, death.
The infant’s parents say that they paid for the “Premier Background Check” on Gumm, the highest level of background check offered by Care.com, but that the site was negligent in performing the check.
The wrongful death lawsuit claims a law enforcement investigation revealed that Gumm had a history of alcohol abuse and violence, including two DUI citations in 2010, a criminal felony matter in 2012 and a 2004 battery incident. Despite this, the Koopmeinerses say the site presented Gumm’s background as “suitable for providing child care and nanny services.”
The couple would not have hired Sarah Gumm if not for Care.com’s negligence, according to the lawsuit.
Care.com describes itself as the world’s largest online destination for care.
According to the website, “Care.com does not employ, recommend or endorse any care provider…nor is it responsible for the conduct of any care provider…each individual is solely responsible for selecting an appropriate care provider.”
Gumm is charged with first-degree murder in the infant’s death and has pleaded not guilty. She is currently being held at the Lake County Jail in Illinois and is awaiting trial.
"We are deeply saddened by this event. In following up with our safety team, we’re sorry to report that the family did not avail themselves of the background checking services for this provider and thus the facts as reported are incorrect. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family," a representative for Care.com told HLN.
“Sarah is a loving and caring person who suffers from hypoglycemic illness. There is no question that she did not intend or in any way want to hurt this child. And while I think the State’s evidence will show the child was injured while in her care and died as a result of those injuries, Sarah’s conduct was neither knowing nor intentional, rather it was reckless in any respect. And we are hoping that the state or a jury will find she is not guilty of first degree murder but of a reckless act,” according to a statement issued by Sarah Gumm's attorney, Jed Stone.
Calls made Wednesday to the Koopmeinerses were not returned.