David W. Martin Law Group Helps York County Parents Secure $16 Million Settlement and Demand Change in South Carolina Daycares

At the David W. Martin Law Group, our South Carolina daycare injury attorneys are, first and foremost, parents. We recognized that working on a case like the one involving six-month-old Jonathan Cash Berry being found unresponsive at the Rock Hill facility, Carolina Kids Development Center, was going to impact our personal and professional lives in ways we could never imagine. This is also, honestly, why we do what we do.

When Jonathon’s parents, Robert and Sasha, decided to file a wrongful death lawsuit against Carolina Kids and its owner, Cadence Education LLC, we wanted to help lead them through this exceptionally challenging case with their most significant goal at the forefront of our legal proceedings: To ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Here, we recount the details of this case and how parents, child caregivers, and even babysitters can help keep infants and small children safe under their watch.

David W. Martin Law Group Helps Parents Secure $16 M Settlement in Daycares

What Happened at Carolina Kids Development Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina?

Like thousands of South Carolina parents, Robert and Sasha dropped their six-month-old, Jonathon, off at Carolina Kids Development Center’s daycare in 2021.

Unfortunately, when it was time for Jonathon to nap, he was laid on his side, rolled over, and suffocated due to one of the workers failing to follow safe practices when laying the baby down to sleep.

Before the York County daycare’s parent company agreed to a $16 million settlement with Cash’s parents and attorneys, Yarborough Applegate attorneys Liam Duffy, Alex Heaton, and William Applegate, working alongside our David W. Martin of David W. Martin Law Group, litigated this wrongful death and corporate negligence case over 2.5 years.

The hard-fought process included nearly two dozen depositions and numerous, complex discovery motions necessary to counter the daycare’s heavily disputed causation in the case, relying on an “undetermined” cause-of-death finding at autopsy, and suggesting that Cash was suffering from a respiratory illness which may have played a role in the outcome.

Both sides hired medical experts and daycare safety experts from across the country to address the evidence and issues in the case. Ultimately, Cash’s pediatrician and treating medical providers — non-retained experts — provided powerful testimony, dispelling the notion that he had any life-threatening illness at the time of his death and stating that he would not have died but for the unsafe sleep position.

“The most concerning issue was that the daycare workers responsible for Cash’s care knew that infants, like Cash, must always be placed on their backs to sleep and yet knowingly placed him in an unsafe sleep position,” says Duffy.

“It was astonishing,” adds Heaton. The worker who found Cash face down and unresponsive claimed that she checked on him numerous times during his nap. Each time, he was on his side—a position she knew was unsafe and improper for this child—and she never repositioned him.”

David Martin added, “Nothing will ever fully repair the pain the Berry family has endured or replace the precious life of their only child, Cash.  But the historic result, in this case, represents civil justice and accountability for the defendant’s negligent conduct in causing this tragedy. Our clients hope it will raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe sleep positioning for infants so that no family ever has to experience a similar loss.”

American Academy of Pediatrics Resources for Safe Sleep Practices

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID), which includes Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), is the leading cause of injury death in infancy.

Sleep is a big challenge for families with babies, but following safe sleep recommendations can prevent many SUID fatalities:

  • Place infants on their backs to sleep in their sleep space with no other people.
  • Use a crib, bassinet, or portable play yard with a firm, flat mattress and a fitted sheet. Avoid sleeping on a couch or armchair or in a seating device, like a swing or car safety seat (except while riding in the car).
  • Keep loose blankets, pillows, stuffed toys, bumpers, and other soft items out of the sleep space.
  • Breastfeed if possible and avoid smoking.

AAP Professional Tools & Resources

Find materials to download, share, and post, including posters, infographics, videos, and social media messages.

View educational materials for health care providers, parents, and caregivers to help prevent sleep-related causes of infant death.

Learn more about the updated AAP guidelines for Safe Infant Sleep and the importance of developing Safe Infant Sleep policies in early education settings.

Find a compilation of forms and materials on preventive health supervision and infant health screening.

Equips communities to improve safety and prevent future fatalities through multidisciplinary, in-depth case reviews. Learn how to participate and how to access child death review data to strengthen prevention in your community.

Learn what others are saying. Listen to our podcasts on safe sleep topics.

AAP Resources for Families

View HealthyChildren.org articles that help parents learn what they need to know about safe sleep.

Discover this organization that provides safe sleep equipment to families in need.

Learn more about this foundation that provides organizations with a board book about safe sleep, Sleep Baby Safe and Snug, to give to families.

View this website, which allows families to check for safety complaints about a product before buying it. Healthcare providers and families can also report product-related injuries to the CPSC.

Contact Our South Carolina Attorneys Today

Our South Carolina daycare injury attorneys sincerely hope you never need us. If you do, please know that we will support you with compassion and the legal skills necessary to achieve justice in your case by calling (803)-548-2468 today.


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David W. Martin Law Group

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