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Home / Verdicts & Settlements / VA sex-abuse claims settle for $6.97 million

VA sex-abuse claims settle for $6.97 million

The U.S. government has agreed to pay $6.97 million to settle claims from 82 people who accused a former physician assistant at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Kansas of sexually abusing them.

Dan Curry of Brown & Curry in Kansas City, who represented the victims of Mark Wisner, said the parties reached the settlement on July 29. He said as of Dec. 9, the settlement was fully distributed to the plaintiffs.

Wisner formerly worked at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Leavenworth, Kansas. In 2017, he was convicted on criminal charges related to the abuse. He is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Kansas.

Victims brought claims against the U.S. government under the Federal Tort Claims Act in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas starting in 2016. Curry said the litigation included several causes of action, but the main one was medical malpractice.

Curry said he and his clients believe they’ve obtained a good settlement.

“We thought it was important to get everyone something and to get them a result that was not going to take another five or 10 years to reach,” he said. “We think the amount was a compromise but a fair compromise.”

Distributing the settlement took several months, partly because the victims agreed to have former Jackson County Judge Jay Daugherty, now a mediator, divide the settlement among them, Curry said. While the nature of the abuse and the number of victims were unusual, Curry said, the case was not completely unlike other litigation his firm has handled.

“It reminded me of the priest litigation in some respects, which we were involved with,” he said, referring to child sex-abuse claims his firm handled against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

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Federal Tort Claims Act

Venue: U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas

Case Number/Date: 2:16-cv-02162/July 29, 2019

Judge: Carlos Murguia

Caption: Doe DE v. The United States of America

Plaintiff’s Attorneys: Dan Curry, Brown & Curry, Kansas City

Defendant’s Attorneys: Sarah Haston and Virginia Jackson Elliott, Department of Justice Civil Division, Washington, D.C.