In a move meant to send a message to corporations who refuse to accept responsibility for their actions, a jury in Albuquerque, NM, returned a $54.5 million damage award to a profoundly retarded man raped while residing in a group home.
The man, who cannot speak or perform activities of daily living on his own, was a resident of College House, run by one of Res-Care New Mexico’s subsidiaries. The parent company ResCare Inc., an international health services company based in Louisville, KY, must pay $48 million in punitive damages to the man and his sister, who brought the lawsuit on her brother’s behalf. The jury made note of the fact that accountability seemed less and less the higher up the corporate chain you went. Some jurors felt "the most honesty came from the front-line people who were paid $7 /hour."
Res-Care New Mexico is now essentially non-existent. In addition to the verdict making them responsible for $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $1.2 million in punitive damages, their contract with the New Mexico Deptartment of Health was cancelled in 2006. They no longer operate any facilities in New Mexico. One juror stated he hoped that this verdict would prevent this from happening again.
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