Panish | Shea | Boyle | Ravipudi LLP attorneys David Rudorfer and Wyatt Vespermann have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Shayne Maupin, the father of 10-month-old Nycholas Parraz—the youngest victim of the January 2023 mass shooting that left six people dead in the California farming town of Goshen. Nycholas was murdered in the arms of his 16-year-old mother, Alissa Parraz, as they fled a targeted gang attack on the household where they were living. The lawsuit names multiple defendants, including seven officers with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office and four social workers with Tulare County Child Welfare Services, whose negligent actions resulted in Alissa and Nycholas’ deaths. Surveillance video, as well as audio of a 911 call placed from inside the home at the time of the attack, captured the final moments leading up to their deaths and were released by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office during a press conference shortly after the massacre.
“The number of red flags and missed opportunities by both Tulare County Child Welfare Services and the Sheriff’s Office are too many to count,” said attorney Wyatt Vespermann. “If these agencies had just done their jobs, this tragedy could have been prevented and Shayne would not have lost a lifetime of love, companionship, and affection from his beloved son and fiancé. What happened to this young family is simply unacceptable.”
As alleged in the complaint, Tulare County Child Welfare Services (CWS) began the process of returning Nycholas to the care of his mother on November 15, 2022. The infant had been detained by CWS eight months earlier due to concerns that Alissa and Shayne, both minors at the time, did not have the means to care for their newborn’s basic needs. Prior to placement in the Goshen household, employees of CWS were required to assess the Goshen household, including all adults living there, for the purposes of determining whether the home was safe for the child. However, CWS failed to assess the Goshen household and placed Nycholas there, despite the presence of active gang members living in the home and the risk of gang violence.
The lawsuit further alleges that on January 3, 2023, law enforcement from Tulare County Sheriff’s Office conducted a warrant check at the Goshen household. Despite the presence of two admitted active gang members in the home, as well as methamphetamine, methamphetamine pipes, body armor, AR Style rifles with no serial number, a handgun, a shotgun, ammunition, bullet holes in the walls, and shell casings, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office failed to investigate Alissa’s circumstances, a minor who was present at the time, and Nycholas’ circumstances, who resided there part-time and whose presence in the home was readily apparent by virtue of his crib and other belongings, to determine whether the Goshen household was unsuitable for the minors due to the risk of gang violence, as required by law.
The lawsuit details that one of the moving forces behind the death of Nycholas was Tulare County Child Welfare Services’ pattern and practice of acting with deliberate indifference to the health, safety, and welfare of infants. The lawsuit points to eight instances of infants, including Nycholas, in Tulare County Child Welfare Services’ custody, dying or suffering near death experiences, within the last three years.
Shayne is seeking to recover damages for his grief and sorrow, the loss of his son Nycholas’ support, companionship, society, comfort, and consortium, damages for pain, suffering, and disfigurement, and special and punitive damages.
A hearing has been set for 8:30 a.m. on December 6, 2023 in Department 2 of the Tulare County Superior Court before the Honorable John P. Bianco.