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Parents Sue DEAF

July 11, 2007


The parents of a severely disabled man who choked to death on a hot dog at a day shelter are suing the facility’s operator, claiming negligence.

Gregory and Betty Jo Payne filed the lawsuit Tuesday in Kanawha County Circuit Court against South Charleston-based Deaf Education and Advocacy Focus, also known as DEAF.

The couple’s son, 22-year-old Craig Allen Payne of Sissonville, died February 12 at DEAF’s day shelter in Nitro.

The lawsuit alleges that a DEAF worker assigned to Payne wasn’t trained to work with him and didn’t know he couldn’t eat solid food. Payne had cerebral palsy.

A lawyer who had represented DEAF said she was unaware of the lawsuit and couldn’t comment.

Under pressure from the state, DEAF closed the Nitro facility and a Boone County program in April.

The lawsuit also named as defendants the state Department of Health and Human Resources and Braley and Thompson, a Dunbar agency that managed Craig Allen Payne’s care.


  1. mother goose
    July 11, 2007 at 9:03 pm

    I am sorry to hear about that.

  2. Sherry
    July 12, 2007 at 12:20 am


  3. July 12, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    That’s sad.. I think caregiver should let all of new caregiver that he cannot feed by food. he required to eat with solid food. When the new staff of caregiver failed by notifity? Did they tell the new staff of caregiver.

    I used to work for disabitiy group home. I know the policy and what is rule for client’s behavior can be complications.

    Maybe he just new without discuss and not enough training him as new caregiver.


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