According to Middlesex County civil court records, Cavan native Ms Brady McCarthy was served with the lawsuit on July 8 but did not “file an appearance, answer,” or issue any other “responsive pleading”.
A damages hearing is expected to be held later this year, said Martha Coakley, an attorney representing Sameer Sabir and Nada Siddiqui, the parents of Rehma Sabir, who was a year old when she died in Ms Brady McCarthy’s care in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in January 2013.
Ms Brady McCarthy, who repeatedly denied harming the child, was indicted on murder charges three years ago in a case that received global attention, but the charges were dropped last year and she was deported back to Ireland from the US, where she had been living illegally.
Rehma’s parents claimed in the civil lawsuit filed in Middlesex Superior Court in Massachusetts that the baby died due to Ms Brady McCarthy’s “negligent, malicious, willful, wonton, reckless and/or grossly negligent acts”.
Prosecutors claimed that bruises to Rehma’s head, damage to her eyes, brain swelling, and other forensic evidence showed that she was killed by blunt trauma to the head and violent shaking. However, Ms Brady McCarthy’s defence team offered alternative causes for the infant’s death, such as an uncommon bleeding disorder or an immune deficiency issue.
After her acquital, Ms Brady McCarthy raised the possibility of suing prosecutors and the doctor who claimed Rehma died from blunt force head trauma after being violently shaken.
Taking the civil case, Rehma’s parents told the Boston Globe newspaper their main motivation in filing their lawsuit is to make sure Ms Brady McCarthy does not make money off the child’s death. They said this was only legal way to do so.
“Sameer and I want to emphasise that our purpose in filing this suit is to prevent Aisling McCarthy from profiting from our daughter’s death,” said Ms Siddiqui.
“For the parents who can’t bring Rehma back, they want to set the record straight,” said Ms Coakley
When the case was filed last winter, one of Ms Brady McCarthy’s criminal attorneys, Melinda Thompson, said Rehma’s parents were “compounding the tragedy” of their child’s death by filing this lawsuit. She said that their medical evidence showed Rehma may have had pre-existing medical issues contributing to her death and that Ms Brady McCarthy deserves to try to rebuild her life in Ireland.
According to lawyers familiar with wrongful death cases in the US, if Ms Brady McCarthy remains unresponsive to the civil case, Rehma’s parents will be able to argue unopposed for some type of judgment against her.