Family of toddler who died at Fort Mill day care settles wrongful death suit

08/26/2014 2:14 PM

08/26/2014 6:09 PM

The family of the 18-month-old boy who suffocated in a car seat at an unlicensed day care in Fort Mill settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the day care provider before the case went to trial.

Chase McCowie died in March 2010 at the home day care operated by Christina Capobianco, who pleaded guilty Monday to child cruelty and was sentenced to more than three years on probation.

Chase had been buckled into a car seat that was was too small for him and left in an upstairs bedroom at Capobianco’s home, court documents show. The lawsuit, filed in 2011 by Chase’s family alleging wrongful death and gross negligence against Capobianco, had sought $100,000, but court documents show the suit was settled last year for $25,000. The money was paid by Capobianco’s insurance company, documents show.

Capobianco pleaded guilty in criminal court Monday to cruelty to a child and violating state licensing laws, receiving probation after state investigators and prosecutors found no other criminal wrongdoing on her part. Testimony showed Capobianco had more children than were allowed at her home, and she had not registered the day care with the state Department of Social Services, which licenses day care providers.

The McCowie family declined to comment after Capobianco pleaded guilty.

Capobianco’s probation, during which she cannot watch anyone else’s children, will be monitored in New York where she moved, testimony showed.

The lawsuit against Capobianco was not the only one filed against her.

The bank that held her mortgage foreclosed on the property after Chase died, court records show, and Capobianco was evicted. The homeowner’s association filed a lawsuit against Capobianco after she was evicted, court records show, seeking more than $3,500 in damages. Capobianco had advertised the sale of items at the home, including the dishwasher, stove – even the fence around the Laurent Avenue house in Fort Mill.

The fence company also sued Capobianco, seeking $3,200 for the fence Capobianco had purchased but not paid for. Capobianco was ordered to pay in Fort Mill magistrate court.

Capobianco and her wedding-planning business also were sued in magistrate court for $720. Capobianco was ordered to pay that, too.

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