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Former Lander resident suing CDS on behalf of son

Jan 17, 2014 - By Eric Blom, Staff Writer

A woman has filed suit against Child Development Services of Fremont County and others for damages after a CDS employee is alleged to have driven over her then-15-month-old son in a Lander apartment building parking lot on April 18, 2012.

The woman, Nicollete Williams, is suing on behalf of a minor who is not identified in the suit.

Williams and her son now live in Connecticut, but in April 2012 they resided at the Teton Motel apartment building in Lander.

The lawsuit claims the infant sustained "serious and debilitating injuries" causing more than $200,000 in medical expenses. Injuries listed in the document include loss of the use of the boy's dominant hand and arm, a stroke, reduction of hearing, seizures, skin being peeled off of the head, cuts and bruises and permanent damage to his right leg.

CDS of Fremont County is a nonprofit organization providing education and therapy to children up to 5 years old who have developmental disabilities. It receives funds from private entities and county and state government.

The lawsuit does not specify how much money the plaintiff is seeking but asks for enough to compensate the victim for injuries, the cost of the suit and more money as the court sees fit. It asks for a jury trial in the case.

Other defendants in the suit are the vehicle's driver, CDS employee Pauline Fross; Child Development Services of Wyoming, a membership organization of which Fremont County CDS is a part; Red Dog Properties, which owns the apartment building; and Cowboy State Properties, which managed the facility.

The suit states Fross provided services to the injured boy's brother April 18, 2012, at Williams's apartment. When Fross left, she got in a 2011 Dodge SUV owned by CDS and parked in a parking lot next to the apartment building.

The child was walking across the parking lot when Fross backed up the vehicle. She then drove forward about 20 feet before striking the infant, according to the suit.

"If Defendant Pauline Fross had been keeping a proper lookout, she would have seen (the child), who was in plain sight," the lawsuit claims.

After the front of the SUV hit the child, Fross continued driving forward, and the boy was dragged under the vehicle, according to the affidavit. The right rear tire ran over the child's head, and Fross drove another 20 feet before stopping.

In the lawsuit, Williams claims Fross was negligent and CDS was culpable for its employee's negligence. The suit goes on to say CDS was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of Fross and in entrusting her with operating a vehicle.

The suit stated CDS of Wyoming is liable because it is part of a "joint enterprise" with CDS of Fremont County.

Apartment building owner Red Dog Properties was negligent because it did not provide a safe parking lot, the lawsuit alleges. Cowboy State Properties was at fault for a similar reason, the suit stated.

Both companies also are liable for creating a "nuisance" in the parking lot "that was a cause of substantial injury and damages to (the child)," according to the lawsuit.

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