Thursday, September 22, 2011

Father of 4-year-old girl found dead weighing just 18-lbs plans to sue NY city for $150 million

Tyrone Pierce, 30, father of Marchella Pierce, 4, who was found dead in her home 2010, is suing the city for $150 million for failing to protect the little girl from her mother.

Tyrone Pierce, 30, father of Marchella Pierce, 4, who was found dead in her home 2010, is suing the city for $150 million for failing to protect the little girl from her mother.

The father of a 4-year-old girl who weighed just 18 pounds when she died last year plans to sue the city for $150 million over her ghastly demise.

Tyrone Pierce, 31, filed a notice of claim in civil court, announcing his intention to sue the city and the Administration of Children's Services for the death of Marchella Brett-Pierce.

City agencies failed to act despite "knowledge of the threats of physical, mental and emotional abuse being waged on [the child]," recently released legal papers allege.

The severely malnourished girl's tragic death has already led to criminal cases against her mother, grandmother and two city social workers.

Mom Carlotta Brett-Pierce, 31, is charged with murder and grandma Loretta Brett, 56, with manslaughter. The undernourished girl was bone-thin, with ligature marks on her hands and drugs in her system, when she died just over a year ago.

Carlotta Brett-Pierce (r.), and Loretta Brett (l.) in court./Ward for News

The Brooklyn District Attorney also indicted an ACS caseworker and his supervisor with criminally negligent homicide for failing to prevent the child's death.

It marked the first time in state history that welfare workers were charged with the death of a child.

According to prosecutors, social worker Damon Adams claimed that he visited the family three weeks before Marchella's Sept. 2, 2010, death - and could not avoid noticing her fragile condition.

But a source said Pierce - who is estranged from the child's mom - was allowed to visit his daughter three days a week until her death, raising questions about why he never came to her aid.

"He's one more person who has seen this child and never noticed anything or reported any neglect or abuse," said Joshua Horowitz, the lawyer for ACS supervisor Chereece Bell.

Horowitz added that the charges against his client, and an ongoing grand jury probe of ACS practices, bolster Pierce's case for compensation.

If the caseworkers get convicted, Horowitz said, "he probably doesn't have to try his case. Just come in and get paid."

A law enforcement source said that there was not enough evidence to indict Pierce and that he may be called as a witness in the upcoming trial.

Pierce served seven years in prison for robbery and a parole violation, and has been arrested numerous times since his 2005 release, records show.

Neither Pierce nor his lawyer, William Hamel, responded to requests for comment.

Pierce and Carlotta Brett-Pierce have two other boys, ages 1 and 6. They were taken to a foster home after their sister's death and a family court trial is underway to make their removal permanent.

Their father, who sees them once a week, has asked to be appointed their guardian and a relative of their mother filed a similar request this week.

The accused killer mom and grandmother are barred by a Supreme Court order from having any contact with the surviving kids.


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