N.J. boy awarded $165M in case against state

    An Essex County jury has handed down a $166 million verdict against the New Jersey Department of Youth and Family Services.

    The award was given Friday to 4-year-old Jadiel Velesquez, who lawyers said was beaten by his father and sustained severe brain damage.

    Jadiel’s grandparents sued DYFS, accusing it of failing to remove the boy from his home after he was brought to the hospital with unexplained bruises. The grandparents claimed they were inflicted by the boy’s father.

    Lawyers said the boy was returned to his mother’s home despite a doctor’s finding of abuse. The beating that left him dependent on 24-hour-care happened weeks later.

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    A DYFS spokesman didn’t comment on the ruling.

    Jadiel’s father pleaded guilty to beating his son and is serving a six-year prison term, lawyers said.

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