Christopher Keane Selected As “Street Fighter Of The Year” By Consumer Attorneys Of California For Landmark Child Abuse Reporting Case

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Christopher Keane of The Keane Law Firm has received the prestigious Consumer Attorneys of California 2017 Street Fighter of the Year Award for his representation of a child abuse victim in the landmark child abuse reporting case, BH v County of San Bernardino, which protects suspected victims of child abuse by requiring law enforcement agencies to cross-report to Child Protective Services all reports of suspected child abuse which they receive via 9-1-1.

Christopher Keane Street Fighter of the Year (2017) Awarded by the Consumer Attorneys of California (PRNewsfoto/The Keane Law Firm)

The Street Fighter of the Year Award has been bestowed yearly since 2007 by the Board of Directors of the Consumer Attorneys of California to a lawyer who has achieved a significant result in a case which exemplifies the ability to overcome adversity, and doing so while working on her or his own, or in a small law firm.

Keane represented a two-year old San Bernardino county boy who had bruising all over his body after court-ordered visitation with his biological father. A family friend then reported the bruising by a 9-1-1 call to the San Bernardino Sheriff Department. The 9-1-1 operator classified the report as a “Child Abuse Report”, and dispatched it to a deputy who responded to the call. No cross-report was made by the sheriff’s department of this suspected child abuse report to Child Protective Services (CPS), despite the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act’s requirement in California Penal Code 11166(k) that all suspected child abuse reports be cross-reported between law enforcement agencies and child protective service agencies.

Several weeks later, the boy was again abused during court-ordered visitation. This time, however, the injury was permanent brain damage and partial blindness consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Nine (9) law firms turned the case down before Keane, a sole practitioner, agreed to help the abused boy and took it. He sued the county for violating a mandatory duty to cross-report to CPS, which precluded CPS from performing its investigation and intervening to save the child from further abuse. Shortly before trial, a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge dismissed the case in 2011, ruling that there was no duty to cross-report. The Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal in 2013, in an unpublished unanimous decision. The only chance for the case to survive after that was for the California Supreme Court to grant a discretionary review.

The odds of a unanimous, unpublished civil case obtaining discretionary review in the Supreme Court was less than one (1) percent, specifically .002%. Out of 1158 petitions seeking review in the 2013-2014 calendar year, only three (3) were granted review. On November 13, 2013, the Supreme Court unanimously (7-0) granted review of the case.

The case was not calendered for oral argument until September 2, 2015.  Keane argued the case before the Supreme Court.

On November 30, 2015, the California Supreme Court unanimously (7-0) reversed the Court of Appeals and trial court, ruling that all law enforcement agencies in California must cross-report all reports of suspected child abuse which they receive to CPS.

Keane spent the next year re-preparing the case for trial. On the eve of the second trial date, eight years (8) after the case began, the Superior Court of San Bernardino approved settlement of the minor’s action on November 22, 2016.

Andrew Chang, of the law firm Esner, Chang and Boyer, also received the 2017 Street Fighter of the Year Award for his work as appellate co-counsel to Keane, on the BH v County of San Bernardinoappeal.

Christopher Keane focuses his practice on helping abused children who are survivors of shaken baby syndrome, abusive head trauma, spinal cord injury and childhood sexual abuse. Keane has represented abused children in California, and many other states.

For further information on Christopher Keane, to consult with him on a child abuse case, or to request his participation in media appearances about child abuse cases, please contact The Keane Law Firm at 415-742-5412.

Or visit the website at www.keanelaw.com.

 

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