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$54 million verdict in rape case

Published on December 28th, 2009

 Louisville Courier-Journal had an article about the recent jury verdict against ResCare Inc. A jury in Albuquerque, N.M., returned a damage award of about $54 million against ResCare Inc. over the rape of a disabled male resident in one of the company’s group homes.  After a three-week trial, the jury unanimously found ResCare negligent, Bettinger said. The company was ordered to pay nearly $5 million in actual damages and more than $49 million in punitive damages.

Carl Bettinger, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the incident occurred a few weeks after ResCare fired nine of the 12 employees of its group home in Roswell, N.M., because they failed or refused drug testing. Bettinger said in an interview that ResCare’s now-defunct New Mexico subsidiary “scrambled” to hire new staff for the home. One of the new hires had been fired from his last job, where he had been found kissing a male resident, Bettinger said. ResCare didn’t call that employer to check on the new worker before hiring him.

The man worked one night at the ResCare facility. That was the night the resident was abused, Bettinger said.  No eyewitnesses came forward.  Physical evidence was lost when the resident was showered the next day.

The award surpasses the $36.6 million profit earned in all of last year by ResCare, one of the nation’s largest providers of residential care to persons with disabilities.

 

Joe Pioletti
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