ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Aug. 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero has won a $485-million jury award in a foster child sex abuse lawsuit filed against several corporate defendants in the foster care industry of New Mexico.
Attorneys of Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have won a $485-million jury award in a foster child sex abuse lawsuit against several defendants, including prominent companies within the New Mexico foster care industry. The defendants in the lawsuit were Clarence Garcia, his wife Debbie Garcia, Acadia Healthcare Company Inc., CEO Joey Jacobs, FamilyWorks, Desert Hills, and Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico Inc.
After a hard-fought trial, the jury reached a verdict in favor of the plaintiff, resulting in $80 million in compensatory damages and $400 million in punitive damages against the foster care companies, and another $5 million in punitive damages against Clarence Garcia. Acadia Healthcare Company Inc. has not accepted any fault for the company’s negligence and inadequate procedures when reviewing and selecting foster homes. A spokesperson for the company intends to challenge the portions of the verdict that apply to it. Attorney Michael Hart, who acted as the lead attorney for the case handled by Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero, is confident the verdict will stand.
The case involves a long history of child sexual abuse carried out by Clarence Garcia. Despite FamilyWorks and the other foster care companies being aware that Garcia had sexually abused foster children in his care, the companies allowed him to foster the 8-year-old girl, whose identity will remain anonymous here for privacy. While she was in his care, Clarence Garcia repeatedly sexually abused her, and Debbie Garcia did not intervene or report him to the authorities.
Eventually, Clarence was arrested and pleaded guilty to the numerous sexual attacks he enacted against the girl in his foster care. He was sentenced to 20 years of probation. The criminal justice system cannot bring all forms of justice, though, which is why it was important to pursue a civil claim as well.
With the $485-million jury verdict, Attorney Hart is hopeful it will bring the family a sense of closure and justice that had not yet been delivered. Additionally, the New Mexico Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) began an investigation into FamilyWorks and Desert Hill in light of the criminal charges and the lawsuit. Both foster care companies are not permitted to conduct business in the state as a result, which could help ensure quality care for foster children throughout New Mexico.
After the verdict award was announced, Attorney Hart said: “Our hope always is that tomorrow and the next day and the day after, the world gets a little bit better for every child in foster care. That every kid knows that they have a right to be heard. They have a right to be believed. They have a right to be protected.”
More information about this important legal victory can be found in a full news article from KRQE News: https://www.krqe.com/news/new-mexico/new-mexico-jury-awards-485-million-in-foster-sexual-assault-lawsuit/. Inquiring parties can visit the official website of Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero for more information about the law firm and its attorneys: www.osolawfirm.com.
Media Contact: Julio Romero, [email protected]
SOURCE Martinez, Hart, Sanchez & Romero
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/martinez-hart-sanchez–romero-wins-485-million-jury-award-in-foster-child-sex-abuse-lawsuit-301903985.html
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