News & Events

Wrongful Death at Rock Hill Daycare Leads to $16 Million Settlement and Safety Changes 

Posted: February 13, 2024

Yarborough Applegate recently represented the parents of a six-month-old infant who died after being improperly placed on his side for a nap at a South Carolina daycare. This month, on the eve of trial for the wrongful death and corporate negligence case, we secured a $16 million settlement for our deserving clients. 

Significantly, as a result of this case, the daycare’s parent corporation has adopted additional safe sleep measures in its South Carolina schools—a critical policy change that we hope will prevent this devastation from ever happening to another family.


In June 2021, Sasha Berry dropped her son Cash, the couple’s only child, off for daycare at Carolina Kids Child Development Center in Rock Hill, South Carolina. About an hour later, a daycare worker put Cash down for a nap. She placed him on his left side propped up against the spindles of the crib rather than on his back—a clear violation of her training, state regulations, American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations, and well-known safe-sleep best practices. 

Approximately 30 minutes later, another staff member found Cash in the crib rolled over, face down and unresponsive. Daycare workers attempted CPR while waiting for an EMS to arrive. Cash was airlifted to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, where he was admitted to the PICU. He lived on life support for a week, but tragically passed away on June 28, 2021.


Yarborough Applegate attorneys Liam Duffy, Alex Heaton, and William Applegate, working alongside David W. Martin of David W. Martin Law Group in Rock Hill, litigated this wrongful death and corporate negligence case over the course of 2.5 years. The hard-fought process included nearly two dozen depositions and numerous complex discovery motions. 

Carolina Kids and its parent company, Cadence Education, heavily disputed causation in the case, relying on an “undetermined” cause-of-death finding at autopsy, and suggesting that Cash was suffering from a respiratory illness that may have played a role in the outcome. Both sides hired medical experts and daycare safety experts from across the country to address the evidence and issues in the case. Ultimately, Cash’s pediatrician and treating medical providers—non-retained experts—provided powerful testimony, dispelling the notion that he had any life-threatening illness at the time of his death and stating that he would not have died, but for the unsafe sleep position.

“The most concerning issue was that the daycare workers responsible for Cash’s care knew that infants, like Cash, must always be placed on their backs to sleep and yet knowingly placed him in an unsafe sleep position,” says Duffy. “They acted contrary to state-mandated regulations, the company’s own policies, the American Academy of Pediatrics’ ‘Back to Sleep’ recommendations, and industry standards. There was even a personalized sign affixed to the front of Cash’s crib that specifically instructed the workers to always place him on his back to sleep.”

“It was astonishing,” adds Heaton. “The worker who found Cash face down and unresponsive claimed that she checked on Cash numerous times during his nap. Each time he was on his side—a position she knew was unsafe and improper for this child—and she never repositioned him.” 


As a result of this tragic and preventable incident, Cadence Education—which operates approximately 300 daycares nationwide—adopted additional safe sleep measures in their South Carolina locations. We hope this ensures that no family has to suffer the same fate. 

The case’s $16 million settlement is believed to be the largest amount ever in a South Carolina infant wrongful death case, and among the largest settlements for any wrongful death case in York County.

Says co-counsel Martin: “Nothing will ever fully repair the pain the Berry family has endured or replace the precious life of their only child, Cash. But the historic result in this case represents civil justice and accountability for the defendants’ negligent conduct in causing this tragedy. Our clients hope it will raise awareness about the dangers of unsafe sleep positioning for infants, so that no family ever has to experience a similar loss.”

Disclaimer: Every case is unique, and prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.

Find Help Here

Free initial consultation: 843-972-0150
Or send text to: 843-473-7003*

* I agree to receive SMS/text messages and data rates may apply.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.