Elizabeth Twp. Daycare Lawsuit Dismissed

Remaining claims in a lawsuit filed in 2014 by operators of an Elizabeth Township daycare center against two former employees were dismissed Sept. 26, according to Miami County Common Pleas Court documents.

Walnut Grove Learning Center LTD, 5760 Walnut Grove Road, Troy, and owners Karen Leffel of Troy and Amy Hawkins of Casstown, filed the lawsuit against Rose Anne Zulauf of Sidney and Cynthia Dickey of Tipp City.

In the lawsuit, Leffel and Hawkins stated Zulauf and Dickey were contract employees at the center, which provides daycare and preschool services, from August 2012 until May 2013 as child care teachers.

The lawsuit included number of claims of alleged actions before and after the operators were indicted on misdemeanor charges of failure to report potential child abuse. Those charges later were dismissed.

According to the stipulated dismissal of claims notice, the parties agreed “to the mutual dismissal of this lawsuit.” Each party agreed to handle its own lawyer fees and expenses incurred.

Attorneys contacted following the dismissal notice’s filing said they had agreed to limit comment to the following statement:

“In May 2013, former teachers Rose Ann Zulauf and Cynthia Dickey, reported several incidents involving two boys, ages four and under, that they alleged occurred at Walnut Grove Learning Center, LTD. Zulauf and Dickey believed the incidents to be sexual in nature and that they had a moral and legal duty to report them. Walnut Grove Learning Center, LTD., and its owners, Karen Leffel and Amy Hawkins, denied that there was more than one incident, and further denied that the lone incident was sexual in nature and therefore not required to be reported under Ohio law. An Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services’ investigation determined that Walnut Grove Learning Center, LTD. had all proper reporting procedures in place.

“Walnut Grove Learning Center, LTD., Karen Leffel, and Amy Hawkins initiated a lawsuit against the former teachers alleging that they had defamed them. Rose Ann Zulauf and Cynthia Dickey countered that Karen Leffel and Amy Hawkins had failed to make report of child abuse and defamed them.

After much reflection and contemplation, the parties determined it would be imprudent to continue to pursue their claims against each other any further. Accordingly, the parties agreed to mutually withdraw all remaining claims.”

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