by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Anne Frontella and her daughter Zoey pose for a photo prior to the 3-year-olds death in January.A lawsuit filed by a Tualatin mother last week alleges an area day care center’s negligence led to the death of her 3-year-old child earlier this year.

Attorney Keith E. Tichenor filed the suit Oct. 28 on behalf of Anne Frontella, whose daughter, Zoey, died after choking on a meatball at Growing With Pride Preschool in Tualatin. The suit names both the school and its owner, Lorinda Rule, and was filed in Multnomah County.

Rule says a member of the day care’s staff attempted the Heimlich maneuver on Zoey, which is noted in emergency dispatch records. Rule maintains the teachers at Growing With Pride are highly trained in CPR and first aid.

“They follow procedure,” Rule said of her staff.

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue records show responders arrived at the day care shortly after receiving a call at 12:01 p.m. that a child was choking. A TVF&R crew responded, and Zoey was transported by ambulance to Legacy Meridian Park Medical Center. She was later transferred to Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

Tualatin Police declined to investigate the incident, as there was no sign of foul play or negligence, according to Tualatin Police spokeswoman Jennifer Massey.

But the suit claims the staff’s response to the Jan. 21 incident was inadequate, and that Zoey died from respiratory and cardiac arrest a day later as a result.

The suit also alleges the facility’s owner and employees failed to provide adequate observation during lunch, failed to prepare food items safe for ingestion by a 3-year-old child, that staff did not have appropriate and adequate training in the Heimlich maneuver or CPR, and that they failed to immediately call 911 when Zoey showed signs of choking.

The wrongful death complaint seeks $5 million in noneconomic damages in recognition of Zoey’s conscious pain and suffering, and for her family’s loss of her love, affection and companionship. The suit also requests $2.6 million in economic damages based on associated medical and funeral costs, as well as Zoey’s lost future earning capacity.

According to the state Office of Child Care, Growing With Pride Preschool has been licensed as a certified child care center since 2004. Records showed no compliance issues, and that no complaints had been filed against the center.

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