The mother of an infant girl who died while in the care of a Fairfield baby sitter has sued the woman and her 12-year-old daughter, seeking unspecified damages.

Nicole Greenaway of Waterville filed the lawsuit less than a month after Kelli Murphy, 12, admitted to unspecified misdemeanor charges in connection with the death of 3-month-old Brooklyn Foss-Greenaway on July 8, 2012. The 13-count lawsuit, filed in Kennebec County Superior Court in Augusta, is against Murphy, who was 10 years old when the infant died, and her mother, Amanda Huard, who had been baby-sitting for Brooklyn.

Greenaway’s attorney, Sheldon Tepler of Lewiston, said the lawsuit is the family’s opportunity to achieve some measure of justice after being torn apart by Brooklyn’s death.

“It’s a terrible thing, seeing the anguish of a lost child,” Tepler said Monday. “The open wound, if you’re lucky, becomes a scar you can live with.”

Ever since Greenaway’s daughter died during the overnight stay at Huard’s Fairfield home, Greenaway has asked for criminal charges to be brought against Huard. Deputy Attorney General William Stokes has said Huard could not be charged, in part because parents aren’t criminally responsible for the actions of their children under Maine law.

An autopsy report said Brooklyn died of asphyxia and suffocation and classified the manner of death as “homicide.” The report also said Huard set up “the infant’s portable crib in her 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom and entrusted the infant’s care to her daughter.”


Murphy was originally charged with manslaughter, making her among the state’s youngest-ever defendants to face that charge. On May 21, she settled the criminal case by admitting to unspecified juvenile violations during a closed-door hearing in Skowhegan District Court, ending a two-year court process.

As a result of the plea agreement, Murphy will continue to receive counseling and treatment under the supervision of the state Department of Health and Human Services until she is 18. At that time, the supervision period may be extended until she is 21.

After the conclusion of Murphy’s case, Greenaway said she was angry, both because there was no public admission of responsibility by Murphy and because Huard wasn’t charged.

Tepler said the lawsuit is motivated by a desire for justice, not money, and that the emphasis will be on Huard. “This is a case that will really probably focus on the negligence of Amanda, the mom, really for her failure to supervise,” he said.

The allegations in the lawsuit include negligence on Huard’s part for leaving Brooklyn alone with Murphy despite earlier warning signs. The lawsuit alludes to a document from DHHS with instructions that Murphy should not be left alone with infants. That instruction was given after a reported incident with another infant who was found with medication in her system that matched drugs prescribed for Murphy.

The lawsuit says Huard failed to “properly monitor and follow through with treatment plans” prescribed for Murphy by her medical providers and DHHS, and that she “failed to properly ensure that Kelli Murphy took her prescribed medications.”


It alleges that Murphy illegally administered a prescription amphetamine to Brooklyn and acted to suffocate her. Huard was negligent for not removing the infant from Murphy’s care when she heard the infant crying and screaming, the lawsuit alleges.

Tepler said Maine law prohibits specifying a dollar amount in a lawsuit, and he declined to specify any out-of-pocket expenses the Greenaway family has borne as a result of Brooklyn’s death.

“Right now, I’d rather focus just on attaining justice for this family rather than getting into a number,” Tepler said. “To say this amount or that amount is undignified.”

Huard, however, could be found negligent, opening up the possibility for more costly damages to be awarded. Tepler said a homeowners insurance policy could be used to pay damages caused by negligence, but not damages resulting from an intentional act.

Even so, Tepler said no amount of money could make up for the emotional suffering that comes with the loss of a child.

While the lawsuit doesn’t seek specific monetary compensation, it does list the types of damage to Greenaway, Brooklyn, and Greenaway’s 4-year-old daughter, Madison, who was also in the room at the time of the death.


It says that Brooklyn’s death caused Madison “great pain and suffering and mental anguish … requiring hospitalization and medical treatment.”

The case also seeks damages for the suffering of Brooklyn and Greenaway, Brooklyn’s funeral expenses, financial losses associated with Brooklyn’s death and Greenaway’s loss of the comfort and companionship of Brooklyn. Greenaway also seeks punitive damages “to deter (Murphy’s) future outrageous conduct.”

Tepler said the lawsuit seeks money because that is the only way for the civil court system to acknowledge liability.

“You can’t get revenge,” he said. “People need to feel validated. They really need to feel that their loss is validated. The only way you can do that in this country is by seeking monetary damages.”

The lawsuit, filed on June 10, could take a year or more to reach a resolution. Both Murphy and Huard must be formally served with legal papers, which must happen within 90 days of the lawsuit’s filing.

Once served, lawyers for Huard and Murphy will have 20 days to file an answer, which will likely lead to an extended period of case evidence being compiled and shared.

Matt Hongoltz-Hetling can be contacted at 861-9287 or at:

Twitter: @hh_matt

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.