The Deratany Firm has filed a lawsuit against Catholic Charities, the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, in connection with the death of a five-year-old boy whose body was found in late 2017.
Jordan Rodriguez’ remains were discovered in the backyard of his mother’s Cleveland home in December 2017. His mother, Larissa Rodriguez, and her husband, Christopher Rodriguez, were sentenced to 25 and 28 years in prison respectively on charges of involuntary manslaughter, felonious assault, child endangerment and gross abuse of a corpse.
But according to attorney Jay Paul Deratany, Catholic Charities bears responsibility as well. He said caseworker Nancy Caraballo failed to meet her responsibility of keeping tabs on the family.
“Ms. Caraballo was supposed to conduct monthly home visits, check on the children and their living conditions, and file a report,” said attorney Deratany. “But on at least 12 occasions, she failed to actually enter the home and filed false reports saying she had.”
“The conditions in the home were absolutely deplorable. When police arrived, one of the children was eating a sandwich with cockroaches inside. Meanwhile, instead of doing her job and looking out for the children, Ms. Caraballo was engaged in a scheme with Ms. Rodriguez to buy her food stamps for cash. She took advantage of her position for personal gain, and that gross negligence cost Jordan his life.”
Caraballo was released from prison in November after serving eight months of a three-year prison sentence for trafficking in food stamps, grand theft and tampering with records. However, according to Deratany, it’s Catholic Charities as an organization, not just one rogue employee, that is responsible for Jordan’s death.
“These kids are vulnerable, and the system is supposed to protect them. But there was no oversight and no accountability on the part of Catholic Charities,” said Deratany. “It’s absolutely unacceptable that one of their caseworkers filed a dozen false reports and no one noticed – or no one cared.”
The wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of the survivorship of Jordan Rodriguez on Tuesday, January 15 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. Catholic Charities, Nancy Caraballo, Larissa Rodriguez and Christopher Rodriguez are named as defendants. In addition to The Deratany Firm, Randazzo Law is participating in the lawsuit as local counsel.