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Group home settles for $1.75M after disabled woman assaulted

Scott Lauck//November 15, 2019//

Group home settles for $1.75M after disabled woman assaulted

Scott Lauck//November 15, 2019//

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A 39-year-old mentally disabled woman who was sexually assaulted by another resident of a group home settled her claim for $1.75 million, according to her attorney.

Jill Kanatzar of Dollar Burns & Becker in Kansas City said the victim, who was 35 at the time of the abuse, had been living in a group home in Kansas City. She was severely mentally disabled and functioned at the level of an infant, relying on the staff at the group home to provide for all of her care and supervision.

According to Kanatzar, the victim was left alone in her room one afternoon after lunch while the sole staff member remained in the kitchen. When the staff member finished cleaning up from lunch, she walked into the victim’s room and witnessed a 19-year-old male resident sexually assaulting the victim. The evidence showed that the male resident functioned at the level of a teenage boy, a significantly higher level than that of the victim.

The victim’s parents filed suit against the owner/operator of the group home and the employee on duty for failing to adequately supervise the residents. In addition, the suit alleged that the defendants had previous notice the male resident was a danger to their daughter, who could not protect herself from the assault.

Kanatzar said the group home had a liability policy with a $1 million limit. The defendants refused a policy limit demand and disputed both liability and the severity of the victim’s damages, arguing she had not received any counseling and her behavior following the assault did not change. Kanatzar said the suit was settled at mediation 45 days following the expiration of the policy limit demand.

RELATED: Click to search for and submit your Verdicts & Settlements

Negligence, Sexual Assault

Venue: Jackson County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: Confidential/Aug. 28, 2019


Caption: Confidential

Plaintiffs’ Attorney: Jill A. Kanatzar, Dollar Burns & Becker, Kansas City

Defendants’ Attorney: Confidential

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