Spartanburg Co. family awarded $3.75 million for DSS failures

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County family has been awarded $3.75 million after a jury found that South Carolina Department of Social Services failed to investigate the danger to a child.

On March 23rd, a Spartanburg County jury ruled in favor of the grandmother of Baby Girl Smith.

That grandmother called SCDSS multiple times to investigate that Smith was in danger while living with her mother and the mother’s live-in boyfriend.

The grandmother was worried about the child being abused and neglected, and complained to DSS twice over the phone and once in person.

The grandmother also reported that the boyfriend, Robert Steadman, had a history of domestic violence, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit says Steadman was arrested and admitted to felony child abuse and is serving a 20-year prison sentence.

The jury did award the grandmother $3.75 million but will be capped at the South Carolina Tort Claims judgment against the state.

Heather Hite Stone said that “had SCDSS investigated this matter they could have prevented the abuse that this poor baby had to suffer.  We are pleased that the jury stood up for this child.”

The lawsuit was brought by two law firms, Hite and Stone of Abbeville and Greenville, S.C. and the Foster Care Abuse Law Firm of Manning, S.C.

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