Jane Doe 1: I had a client once who called me from a Motel 6 room. She was living there in complete fear for her life as she had been sexually assaulted two days prior while trying to access a storage locker. At the time she rented the locker, she advised the owners that she was a single mother trying to run a small business selling goods at a swap meet and needed to come and go at all hours to store and retrieve inventory. She was assured that: 1) the facility had a secure and functioning front gate with electronic access only to patrons; 2) security cameras were located throughout the property; 3) that there as a "full time" security guard on the property. We later found out that the front gate had enough of a delay that several cars could follow any person into the property after entry, the security cameras were "dummy" cameras "just for show" and that the security guard on duty clocked in on the evening of the incident and then just left, without any reason.
My client was severely injured and scared to go back to her apartment as the perpetrators had her wallet with her driver's license. I found her good doctors to treat her, I found her a new place to live, I tried to comfort her the best I could. I then spent the next year getting to the bottom of the negligent security problems for this property. I was fought at every instance, witnesses refused to cooperate and be deposed without a court order, the defendant tried to stall the case until the criminal prosecution was "complete", knowing good and well that the perpetrators had fled to Mexico and would probably never be found and the investigation had no end in sight.
Finally, I was sitting in my office at about 4:30 p.m. on a Friday afternoon feeling exhausted by the week's "battle" when I got a call from the defense attorney. He said, "Well I don't want to do this but, I have been instructed to offer you our policy limit of $1,000,000.00".
A few weeks later, I gave my client a check for a significant six figure sum. She could not be more thankful. She said she was going to use the money to provide for her future medical expenses, move to a better part of town, and help put her son (a straight A high school student) through college.
I had done my job!!
John Doe: Persons with physical or mental incapacity or limitations seem particularly vulnerable to falling prey to sexual predators. This was the case with John Doe. Placed in a private mental health care facility on a 72 hour hold (so-called "5150 hold" due to being a "danger to himself or others"). Obviously, persons who suffer mental breakdowns like this are in a delicate state when presenting themselves to the care of what should be medical professionals. In this case, the "professionals" (namely a male medical staff person) took full advantage of the situation and committed multiples rape on the victim at the facility. I wish I could say this was the first (or last) time I have seen this exact scenario play out (I am presently litigating claims with the exact same facts as I write this blog post).
John Doe was, needless to say, scared and distraught at his ordeal. At the time and hour he needed comfort and care the most, he was violated and his condition was made even worse. The medical facility immediately began denying any responsibility or prior knowledge that their employee had any inclination to commit such a "heinous act". Through depositions and discovery, though, it was revealed that this was not, in fact, the first accusation of sexually inappropriate conduct by this individual perpetrated against a patient. In fact, there had been several prior instances but, these were "unsubstantiated" (as defined by not having a witness to the event other than the victims). I didn't buy this nonsense argument and I didn't think a jury would either. After almost two years of hard fought litigation, I was able to convince the hospital which employed this individual that their position was simply not going to fly at trial. A significant seven figure amount was negotiated to resolve these claims. A client received a just and fair amount for his suffering.
I had done my job!!