Hillside Boy to Receive $165 Million from NJ Division of Youth and Family Services

A young boy from Essex County who was beaten and left handicapped by his father in 2009, recently won a lawsuit against the Division of Youth and Family Services, which earned him $165 million.

4-year-old Jadiel Velesquez of Hillside, was severely beaten by his father, Joshua Velesquez, in Jersey City on July 16, 2009, when the boy was just 4 months old. The assault caused damage to Jadiel’s brain, leaving him blind and completely incapacitated. He now receives full-time care in order to survive.

After this tragedy, Jadiel’s father was found guilty of aggravated assault and sentenced to serve a six-year prison term. Then, in 2010, Jadiel’s grandmother, Neomi Escobar, filed a lawsuit against the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services, alleging that the agency should have taken Jadiel from Joshua’s custody prior to the attack.

Escobar claims to have informed the State of the abuse via a telephone hotline before the events of July 16th. Further, she alleges that an incident occurred six weeks prior to the assault, which resulted in Jadiel being taken to Newark Beth Israel Medical Center’s emergency room with bruises on his face. Escobar said Joshua was responsible for the bruises and a doctor who treated Jadiel noted that he suspected the child was a victim of abuse. Nonetheless, Jadiel was sent home, where he was ultimately assaulted. A few weeks later, employees of the Division of Youth and Family Services determined that Jadiel should not be left alone with his father. Escobar argued in the lawsuit that the agency should have done more to guarantee Jadiel’s safety.

The jury ultimately agreed with Escobar, ordering the Division of Youth and Family Services to compensate the boy for his lifelong medical bills as well as his pain and suffering with an amount totaling $165 million. According to court documents, an economist testified that medical costs for the remainder of Jadiel’s life will amount to approximately $64 million. If his testimony was considered accurate by the jury, it can be assumed that over $100 million was awarded to Jadiel for pain and suffering. The plaintiff’s attorney claims that this verdict represents the highest amount for which the state of New Jersey has ever been found liable.

For more information pertaining to this case, access the following article: N.J. boy left blind and brain-damaged after being beaten by father awarded $165M by jury