986 users online (133 members and 853 guests)  


The Killing Season - Websleuths

Websleuths News


Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 19
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,266

    CA - Neighbors sue to declare autistic boy a public nuisance

    http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci...amily-claiming

    The lawsuit -- filed last summer by two couples who lived in homes that flanked Gopal and Agrawal's house -- alleges that the boy's disruptive behavior also created an "as-yet unquantified chilling effect on the otherwise 'hot' local real estate market" and that "people feel constrained in the marketability of their homes as this issue remains unresolved and the nuisance remains unabated."
    IMO

    First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Finally, they came for me and there was no one left to speak out.

    Martin Niemöller
    prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and pastor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    619
    Hesitate to touch this one, but smells like a cash grab to me. The family with the autistic son has moved away, one of the complainants was also renting - how can they claim devalued property prices if they weren't owners?

    I feel terribly for the boy and his parents. However, there has to be some kind of compromise found. A child at our school has physically attacked - repeatedly - other children, and ended up breaking an adult's toe, spraining another adult's wrist, and more. He is only 9, but clearly not best served by being in a classroom with other children - just as *they* were not best served by having him there. It's sad, it's a horrible position for the parents to be in, but at what point do the needs of one child outweigh the needs of the others?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Georgia -- Redneck Country
    Posts
    7,175
    So this child was assaulting people on the street, including babies and small animals, and people in the article say taking the matter to court was too harsh?

    Seems to me taking the matter to court was the NICE way of handing it. I don't think this is a cash grab, I think the neighbors were getting desperate and a lawsuit threat was the only real recourse they had to put a stop to the problem.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Location
    Wantagh, New York
    Posts
    2,617
    I live in a neighborhood in which autism awareness is very strong. My children attended classes with autistic children, and we had an autistic child on our block. His mother was outside EVERY SINGLE DAY while he played with other children because when he became frustrated he would become violent. He would bite, strike and lash out. He was very strong. He was also my sons best friend. I will say this though, if his mother wasn't super vigilant, I wouldn't have allowed my son to play outside with him. He was that unpredictable. It seems to me that this boy may not have been properly supervised by his parents.

    Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    5,323
    I have to wonder if the neighbors ever contacted child protective services? This family possibly needed more support and resources, and possibly access to respite care. I think they are probably in denial about how closely their son needs supervision, which is likely he needs competent adult supervision 24/7/365 in a 1:1 contact situation. That's exhausting for a family-- they might be using outside play time as respite.

    If I were in a situation like that, and the parents weren't responsive to personal conversations to work on the situation, I would let them know I'd have no choice except to contact DHS to try to improve the situation for everyone, before I'd just file a lawsuit. As well as contacting police in a non-emergency way, so that there was a combined effort between police and DHS to work with the family and neighbors.

    But then, I doubt that I'd stick around long enough in the neighborhood to want to file a lawsuit. I see moving as a much cheaper and quicker solution than a lawsuit, which is what I'd probably do, if reasonable efforts to involve DHS authorities weren't working. (Even if I loved the house and neighborhood.)

    Because, even with good faith efforts on the part of the neighbors, things may never improve, and may deteriorate as the child gets older and stronger. I wouldn't want to put up with that for years on end, nor would I want my kids to have to continuously put up with that kind of behavior. It wouldn't be fair to my kids-- so I'd take steps to remove our family from that situation, if negotiations weren't working within a reasonable amount of time. I can control my family's situation (where we choose to live), but I have pretty limited ability to force change on another family, KWIM?

    This is the same problem solving and decision making process I'd use for any intolerable neighborhood situation. I'd try to fix whatever the problem was, and if reasonable efforts weren't working, I'd move on to another environment. I think a lawsuit in a situation like this is a waste of time and money, and does nothing to solve whatever the problem really is.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    5,323
    This article says arguments resume tomorrow in the case. (9/ 22/ 2015).

    http://insider.foxnews.com/2015/09/2...t-autistic-boy

    More comments from the neighbors who filed the lawsuit.

    Santhanam said Friday that the problem worsened over the years because the boy's parents or baby sitters often weren't around at the time of the attacks to prevent them.

    "This has to do with the parents' responsibility to control their child," said Santhanam. After one incident, he recalled, Gopal told him, "He's autistic -- there is nothing you can do."
    Santhanam said he and his wife, who have lived on the block since 1999, first met Gopal and Agrawal when they moved in next door with their son in 2007.

    Not long after, they said, their neighbor's baby son was diagnosed with autism.

    "It was very hard for them, and we tried to do everything we could to support them," recalled Santhanam. "They were clearly struggling."

    He said neighbors were sensitive to the couple's situation and made sure to include the family in activities on the block.

    When the boy's parents told Pothen that the boy shouldn't eat sweets, for example, she and others made sure that at Halloween and Easter, neighbors gave the boy other items as treats, including special eggs.
    But in October, when he said the boy attacked their young son on his fourth birthday -- pulling his hair, shaking his head back and forth, kicking him on his back repeatedly -- Robert Flowers reluctantly called the police, because he said he wanted a paper trail to be established in case the attacks continued.

    "I didn't want to do it, because I knew I would look like the bad guy," said Flowers, who moved out of the rental house with his family last month.

    "We're not upset about him being autistic," he clarified. "We are concerned and upset about his violence (toward) our children."
    After yet one more attack in early 2014, Santhanam said, he and his wife asked Gopal and Agrawal to meet with them to talk about the problems and create a plan that would keep the children on the block safe. He said at one point, Gopal and Agrawal suggested their son could play outside on either the odd or even days of the week, and the other children could play on the opposite days.

    But the boy's parents, Santhanam said, ultimately didn't commit to anything.
    The two couples filed their lawsuit in June 2014, asking the court for a preliminary injunction against the family to ensure their son does not strike, assault or batter anyone in the neighborhood or their personal property. One month later, the judge agreed.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    5,323
    I wanted to add a few more thoughts. I think it's quite unfortunate that the emphasis on this case has been on the negative behaviors of the child, and the "horrible, intolerant neighbors", and not on the inadequate actions of the parents. It's really unfortunate that this entire situation has been framed by the media and activists as a bunch of intolerant neighbors who were out to get a family with a disabled child. I don't think that is a true picture of what was going on.

    All parents have a responsibility to control their children and prevent them from assaulting others and destroying property. That goes for "normal" children, and kids with mental illness and behavioral disorders, as well as disabled/ autistic children. (It also applies to homeowners and pets, but please don't anyone go off the rails and think I'm comparing a child to a pet!)

    I don't think any parents get a "pass" on adequate supervision simply because the child is disabled. One could easily argue that failure to provide appropriate close supervision for a disabled, autistic child amounts to negligence. This child presents a danger to himself when unsupervised, as well-- there are descriptions of him running his bicycle into others, and things, intentionally, etc.

    Apparently the parents hired babysitters, but the sitters didn't supervise within arm's length-- and that is a problem of their communication with, and supervision of their employees, as well. The neighbors who were part of the suit have known this family since before the child in question was even born, and have, IMO, really tried to work with the family on these issues over many years.

    I think the judge was correct to grant the injunction a year ago, ordering the parents to take adequate measures to prevent the child from assaulting others and damaging property. The family chose to move in order to be in compliance with that order. For the child's sake, I hope they did a lot of other interventions, as well.

    It's a shame the media and activists have chosen to present this as an attack on an autistic child, when it's really a matter of inadequate/ negligent provision of supervision for the child. The child can't help the way he is, that is true. It's up to parents and adults to manage the environments and limits for the child, in the most positive and least restrictive way. It takes a team of very compassionate and skilled caregivers to do that-- to intervene and redirect, to know the child's signals, etc.

    Direct, continuous supervision of kids and adults that need that level of care is very expensive, time intensive, and exhausting. But it really is the only answer for safe and humane management (in conjunction with medication and other therapies).

    I'm not at all sure a "public nuisance" lawsuit was a good, correct, or best way to proceed, but this, IMO, is (or, was-- they moved) a case of parents needing to work more effectively with various resources to provide more appropriate supervision for this child in this neighborhood environment. Both parents appear to have fairly demanding jobs, and I suspect they "outsourced" much of this child's daily supervision and care-- and possibly were very tired and stressed out when they were home.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in the court case.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    2,266
    A lot of interesting comments on the San Francisco Autism Society blog, including towards the end a comment by one of the parents who filed the lawsuit. I have a feeling many parents of autistic children will be in the court tomorrow.

    http://www.sfautismsociety.org/blog/...ublic-nuisance
    IMO

    First they came for the communists and I did not speak out because I was not a communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.
    Finally, they came for me and there was no one left to speak out.

    Martin Niemöller
    prominent German anti-Nazi theologian and pastor

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Anaheim, CA
    Posts
    11,820
    Quote Originally Posted by K_Z View Post
    I wanted to add a few more thoughts. I think it's quite unfortunate that the emphasis on this case has been on the negative behaviors of the child, and the "horrible, intolerant neighbors", and not on the inadequate actions of the parents. It's really unfortunate that this entire situation has been framed by the media and activists as a bunch of intolerant neighbors who were out to get a family with a disabled child. I don't think that is a true picture of what was going on.

    All parents have a responsibility to control their children and prevent them from assaulting others and destroying property. That goes for "normal" children, and kids with mental illness and behavioral disorders, as well as disabled/ autistic children. (It also applies to homeowners and pets, but please don't anyone go off the rails and think I'm comparing a child to a pet!)

    I don't think any parents get a "pass" on adequate supervision simply because the child is disabled. One could easily argue that failure to provide appropriate close supervision for a disabled, autistic child amounts to negligence. This child presents a danger to himself when unsupervised, as well-- there are descriptions of him running his bicycle into others, and things, intentionally, etc.

    Apparently the parents hired babysitters, but the sitters didn't supervise within arm's length-- and that is a problem of their communication with, and supervision of their employees, as well. The neighbors who were part of the suit have known this family since before the child in question was even born, and have, IMO, really tried to work with the family on these issues over many years.

    I think the judge was correct to grant the injunction a year ago, ordering the parents to take adequate measures to prevent the child from assaulting others and damaging property. The family chose to move in order to be in compliance with that order. For the child's sake, I hope they did a lot of other interventions, as well.

    It's a shame the media and activists have chosen to present this as an attack on an autistic child, when it's really a matter of inadequate/ negligent provision of supervision for the child. The child can't help the way he is, that is true. It's up to parents and adults to manage the environments and limits for the child, in the most positive and least restrictive way. It takes a team of very compassionate and skilled caregivers to do that-- to intervene and redirect, to know the child's signals, etc.

    Direct, continuous supervision of kids and adults that need that level of care is very expensive, time intensive, and exhausting. But it really is the only answer for safe and humane management (in conjunction with medication and other therapies).

    I'm not at all sure a "public nuisance" lawsuit was a good, correct, or best way to proceed, but this, IMO, is (or, was-- they moved) a case of parents needing to work more effectively with various resources to provide more appropriate supervision for this child in this neighborhood environment. Both parents appear to have fairly demanding jobs, and I suspect they "outsourced" much of this child's daily supervision and care-- and possibly were very tired and stressed out when they were home.

    It will be interesting to see what happens in the court case.
    I think I'm with you, K_Z. I think the parents of the child with autism needed help but also weren't acknowledging that there was a problem or properly supervising their child. I;m not sure calling the police at first was necessary. The fact that they did it to create a paper trail sort of indicates to me they were preparing for a suit. Was there a better way to handle it?

    On the other hand, I'm sorry but I could not allow my infant or pet to be injured be a child who is not being cared for. I would talk to them first and demand that the child be closely supervised at all times to avoid something like that again. I would sympathize but explain that permanent harm could happen and that would be a problem. But i think I would also simply avoid the child and keep my pets and children away from him.
    For Travis Alexander, a human being.


    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    5,323
    Just realized I omitted the link for the quotes in post #6 above (too late to edit.)

    Here's the link.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci...-ignored-their

    Another article I read stated the neighbors had actually been in some kind of mediation with the family, but now I can't find that.

    I'm not really sure what they hope to achieve with the lawsuit. I think the restraining order was an appropriate fix, but IMO, this lawsuit, and tomorrow's attempts to get medical and school records, are just a ship steaming off in the wrong direction. We know enough about the child to know he definitely has autism, and that he has been inadequately supervised in a environment (the neighborhood) without boundaries or restrictions. To me, that's the real issue here. The child is let out to "play" and wander the neighborhood unsupervised. Or possibly with some misguided assumption on the part of the parents that the neighbors should have to supply the supervision?

    This really seems like more of a case for family court, and I wonder why it isn't there? Maybe DHS/ CPS was never involved, and this is the only avenue open to the neighbors? IDK. It seems like a lot of costs and frustration (and being vilified) for the neighbors to go to this effort over a couple of years, when the family has moved.

    Seems to me this is a family court issue. Gitana1-- do you have any input on that? How did this case end up as a civil lawsuit, and not in family court?
    Last edited by K_Z; 09-21-2015 at 10:03 PM.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Anaheim, CA
    Posts
    11,820
    Quote Originally Posted by K_Z View Post
    Just realized I omitted the link for the quotes in post #6 above (too late to edit.)

    Here's the link.

    http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci...-ignored-their

    Another article I read stated the neighbors had actually been in some kind of mediation with the family, but now I can't find that.

    I'm not really sure what they hope to achieve with the lawsuit. I think the restraining order was an appropriate fix, but IMO, this lawsuit, and tomorrow's attempts to get medical and school records, are just a ship steaming off in the wrong direction. We know enough about the child to know he definitely has autism, and that he has been inadequately supervised in a environment (the neighborhood) without boundaries or restrictions. To me, that's the real issue here. The child is let out to "play" and wander the neighborhood unsupervised. Or possibly with some misguided assumption on the part of the parents that the neighbors should have to supply the supervision?

    This really seems like more of a case for family court, and I wonder why it isn't there? Maybe DHS/ CPS was never involved, and this is the only avenue open to the neighbors? IDK. It seems like a lot of costs and frustration (and being vilified) for the neighbors to go to this effort over a couple of years, when the family has moved.

    Seems to me this is a family court issue. Gitana1-- do you have any input on that? How did this case end up as a civil lawsuit, and not in family court?
    Well, family court in California divorces and custody/support cases not involving a marriage. Juvenile dependency actions (CPS/DHS) can occur when it is determined by a governmental agency that there is neglect or abuse. Either CPS/DHS wasn't notified and did not investigate or they did and determined there wasn't enough evidence to prove neglect.

    That would be a good question to ask.
    For Travis Alexander, a human being.


    *Gitana (means "Gypsy girl"). Pronounced "hee tah nah."

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Up North
    Posts
    5,323

    Judge orders mediation ahead of possible trial in November

    Judge sends Sunnyvale autistic boy's parents, neighbors back to court for mediation

    SAN JOSE -- Voicing her dismay in a case causing an uproar among Bay Area parents, , a Santa Clara County judge on Tuesday strongly encouraged the parents of a boy with autism and and their neighbors who sued them claiming the boy is a public nuisance to enter a court-supervised mediation.

    "The question I have for each and every one of you is: do you want to be solution-oriented and a great role model for your kids?'' Superior Court Judge Maureen A. Folan asked the parents standing before a packed courtroom. "Or do you want the opposite of that, and be litigation-oriented?''

    The civil court hearing had originally been scheduled to determine if the Sunnyvale neighbors could obtain the 11-year-old boy's therapy and school records. But Folan put that issue aside and admonished them to consider another alternative to resolve their dispute. She called the Silicon Valley parents "incredibly intelligent people'' whose combined brain power and love for their children created an opportunity to "take time out of all this ugliness'' and offer "life lessons we want to teach our kids.''
    http://www.mercurynews.com/health/ci...behavior-heads

    “I don’t blame her, I think this case should’ve been handled in a different way a long time ago,” said Flowers. “I regret that it’s gotten to this point. We never wanted it to get to this point.”

    All parties have agreed to go to mediation in hopes of reaching a settlement.

    When asked if he felt it needed to get to this point, plaintiff Bindu Pothen seemed positive.

    “I feel like we had been trying to communicate and come up with a permanent safety solution for a long time, and this might be what we needed,” he said.

    “I’m very optimistic,” added Santhanam. “I really look forward to meeting with Judge Walsh and hope we can all work together for a positive outcome.”

    Tuesday, the judge ordered everybody to meet with a settlement judge next month. If they cannot iron out their differences, then the case will proceed to trial in November.
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/201...istic-lawsuit/

    I think the judge is doing the right thing-- this should not see a trial, IMO-- but I do believe that CPS should investigate the situation with the parents supervision plan for the child, including the reports of violence the neighbors have described. The parents likely need much more support and access to more resources, IMO. I don't think they are bad parents, but I do think they may be overwhelmed and in denial about how much supervision is needed for their child.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    1,278
    There is the small chance that this boy was misdiagnosed somewhat like Adam Lanza was....

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Posts
    3,961

    For tracking case, the court info.

    Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara.
    For details re Involved Parties; Calendared Events; Documents.

    "Public Access Civil Case Information Website" "Register of Actions/Docket"

    Number: 1-14-CV-266515
    Title: R. Flowers, Et Al Vs V. Gopal, Et Al

    http://www.sccaseinfo.org/pa6.asp?fu...mber%20Results

    In documents listing section, each lists "Click for text"
    but after clicking, I get response "message from webpage" w atty's name.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    2
    I've read the comments here and I thought anyone truly curious should read the other side of the story. If your interested the Sanfransico autism socioty released a statement on the lawsuit that in my opinion is extremely informative I tried several times to copy the link here but was unsuccessful. You will find that 1. The family with the autistic child moved away at great personal expense and even after moving and mediation the families refused to drop the lawsuit. 2. You will find that the families of the lawsuit are seeking the most personal medical and treatment information of the boy in court. 3. If the out come is successful then families like mine who have autistic children can be subjected to lawsuit , made to leave our homes and our children can be arrested and institutionalized against our will. I urge you to read the statement in full as it gives timely information about this case that was not included in the articles posted.

    Thank you member of websleuth community mother of two autistic children.

Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast


Similar Threads

  1. Tiny 'crazy ants' are a giant nuisance for U.S. Gulf Coast
    By Dark Knight in forum Up to the Minute
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-27-2013, 01:24 AM
  2. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 06-26-2013, 04:12 PM
  3. Flu Prompts Boston to Declare Public Health Emergency
    By Reader in forum Up to the Minute
    Replies: 49
    Last Post: 02-07-2013, 11:16 AM
  4. Judges declare war on pet owners
    By Casshew in forum Bizarre and Off-Beat News
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 04-18-2004, 10:37 AM