By Jeff Lehr
A federal appeals court on Monday remanded to a lower court a lawsuit filed on behalf of the mother of an 8-year-old boy who was fatally shot three years ago while in foster care in Alba.
The order carried instructions that the Missouri Department of Social Services and two state social workers be removed as co-defendants in the case.
Braxton Wooden Jr. was shot in the head by Mark and Treva Gordon’s 14-year-old biological son on June 2, 2005, during a game of “cops and robbers” with a handgun taken from a bedroom closet of the Gordons’ home.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis decided that because there was no evidence that the social worker and her supervisor had any knowledge of the presence of unsecured firearms in the home, the case did not rise to the standard of “conscience-shocking conduct” required to override a qualified immunity from lawsuits under which the Department of Social Services and state social workers operate.
The court remanded the case to U.S. District Court in Springfield with instructions that a summary judgment be granted the department, state social worker Mickey Morgan and Morgan’s supervisor, John McGinnis. The appeals court decided that the district court erred in denying the defendants qualified immunity from the lawsuit brought by the boy’s biological mother, Brandie McLean.
The Gordons, who also were named as co-defendants in the case, settled with McLean and her attorneys in 2006 for $100,000. McLean received $34,801 of the settlement, and about $23,200 went to a representative of four surviving siblings of the slain boy. The remainder went to McLean’s attorneys.
All five of McLean’s children were removed from her care in September 2004 after her 2-year-old son, Chandler, was spotted on the roof of their Webb City home while she was sleeping. Three of the children, including the eldest, Braxton Wooden Jr., eventually were placed in the Gordons’ care.
By Jeff Lehr
- Joplin Metro
Longtime Democrat dies at 81
Sapp, 81, died Thursday. Funeral services were Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. A longtime Jasper County Democratic committeewoman and volunteer, Sapp for years was secretary to the county’s central committee.
Nixon visits Joplin to sign breast density bill
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation at Freeman Hospital on Tuesday that will require radiologists in Missouri to provide information about breast density on post-mammogram reports.
Defendant draws 10 years for assault of ex-girlfriend
A Jasper County judge today sentenced a rural Joplin man to 10 years in prison for an assault on an ex-girlfriend with a walking stick that left one of her eyes detached from its socket.
Rural Joplin child dies from gunshot wound to head
A 3-year-old girl died Monday at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Freeman Health Systems after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The incident occurred at the child's home in rural Joplin, said Sheriff Ken Copeland.
Suspect in coach's slaying posts bond
Jeffrey Bruner posted bond shortly before noon today and was released from the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.
Downtown group warns about Third Thursday mail scam
Officials with the Downtown Joplin Alliance on Friday announced that a mail scam involving Third Thursday has been discovered.
PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.
The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.
PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.
In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents
Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.
Joplin voters reject all three charter changes
The changes were placed on the ballot by the City Council acting upon recommendations by a Charter Review Commission that met last fall.
- More Joplin Metro Headlines
- Longtime Democrat dies at 81