Matoesian dismisses DCFS head, parents of man who killed toddler in wrongful death case

Amelia Flood Jul. 1, 2011, 8:28am


Madison County Circuit Judge Andreas Matoesian has dismissed the head of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and the parents of a man convicted of beating a toddler to death from a wrongful death suit.

Matoesian signed orders June 29 dismissing counts brought against Erwin McEwen, the head of DCFS as well as those brought against Dennis and Kimberly Endicott.

Plaintiff Matthew Wells had sued McEwen and the Endicotts along with the Endicotts' son, Scott Endicott, Valerie Schoolfield, and Sophia Rawlings on behalf of the estate of Joseph Endicott a year ago.

Scott Endicott is currently serving a 60 year prison term for beating three year-old Joseph Schoolfield to death in January 2009.

Valerie Schoolfield, the boy's mother, is also serving a 16 year prison term for child endangerment.

Wells' suit seeks damages in excess of $1 million.

In addition to the claims of battery and other allegations brought against Scott Endicott and Valerie Schoolfield, Wells alleges that Rawlings, a DCFS case worker, acted negligently in allowing Joseph Schoolfield to remain in a dangerous situation despite documented abuse.

He claims that Kimberly and Dennis Endicott had a relationship with Joseph Schoolfield that necessitated them keeping him safe and their son away from him pursuant to an order by a Madison County Court.

The Endicotts deny the plaintiff's claims.

In their motion to dismiss filed June 6 the Endicotts point to their lack of relationship with the boy and the fact that they could not exert control over his mother and her actions.

The judge dismissed the counts against the Endicotts with prejudice, although Scott Endicott remains a party in the case.

McEwen had cited his position as a director of a state agency and his lack of contact with the case in his own dismissal move.

The judge wrote in his June 29 order that "Plaintiff does not have a sufficient factual basis for the complaint against McEwen."

Matoesian denied a move by McEwen for a bill of particulars as moot.

Rawlings had moved to dismiss the claims against her but the judge denied the motion.

Michael Oltmann and Michael Bilbrey represent Wells.

No attorneys are listed for Scott Endicott or Valerie Schoolfield.

Assistant Attorney General Christopher Higgerson represents Rawlings.

Richard Cary represented Dennis and Kimberly Endicott.

The case is Madison case number 10-L-928.

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