Coster v. State of Washington – DSHS removed M.D., a then perfectly healthy 18-month-old, from a stable foster care placement in Washington and placed her into the home of her alleged father in Texas. Two months later he severely beat her. As a result, M.D. suffered severe brain damage, rendering her quadriplegic, blind, and unable to feed or care for herself in any manner for the rest of her life
Prior to placing M.D. in Texas, DSHS failed to read a 26-page home study that had been completed by the State of Texas, contrary to DSHS policies. This home study raised numerous red flags regarding the safety of the placement. In addition, DSHS failed to review their own files, which also contained concerning information of the alleged father.
Ressler & Tesh obtained a settlement of $19,300,000 for M.D. This settlement will take care of M.D. for the rest of her life. In addition, it is the largest single plaintiff settlement against DSHS.
Schmidt v. State of Washington – A couple had a history of CPS investigations over several years regarding their children. DSHS continuously failed to complete proper follow-up on the reports it received. The couple then fled with their six siblings to avoid CPS inquires. CPS knew that they had left to New Mexico, yet failed to inform New Mexico of the active investigation.
The six siblings were subjected to horrific sexual and physical abuse while in New Mexico, until one of them was able to escape. A settlement of $9,000,000 was obtained by Ressler & Tesh for these children.
Wolf v. State of Washington; E.Q. v. State of Washington – DSHS received dozens of reports regarding abuse and neglect of 5 siblings over several years, yet failed to properly investigate or inform the dependency court of what was happening with these children. The siblings suffered years of sexual and physical abuse at their hands of the biological father. In addition, DSHS failed to complete a required background check on the children’s step-grandfather, who was a registered sex offender.
Ressler & Tesh obtained a $7,875,000 recovery on the behalf of these children.
Settlement with the State of Washington for three siblings abused by their father after the State failed to competently investigate concerns about their safety in his care. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $7,200,000.00 on behalf of the plaintiffs.
Beggs v. State of Washington – Tyler DeLeon died of starvation on his seventh birthday. At the time of his death, his bruised and battered body weighed just 28 pounds having been systematically starved and abused by his foster mother, Carole DeLeon.
Inexcusably, Tyler DeLeon was one of many children placed in the DeLeon home despite the fact that Ms. Delone had previously lost her foster care license when DSHS determined that she had abused and starved foster children in her home.
In addition, some of the surviving plaintiffs alleged that their doctors failed to report obvious signs of neglect, abuse, and starvation.
This case resulted in an appeal heard by the Washington State Supreme Court, the result of which clarified the law allowing health care providers to be sued solely for their failure to report suspected signs of abuse under RCW 26.44 as distinguished from medical malpractice actions. Beggs v. DSHS 171 Wn. 2d 69.
In 2012, DSHS settled their portion of the case for $6,100,000.
In 2013, a confidential settlement was reached with one of the children’s doctors.
Wolf v. SCO Family of Services – Dependent children from Washington and New York were placed by a New York foster care agency into a home with a known history of concerning allegations of neglect. Ressler & Tesh obtained a $6,250,000 recovery against this agency for these children.
Read the NYT article about the case.
Download the NYT article about the case.
Settlement of over $6,000,000.00 for an extended family hit head on near the top of Stevens’ Pass by a teenage driver who crossed the center line at highway speed. Injuries ranged from scrapes and bruises for children who were in car seats to life-threatening injuries sustained by the driver and his wife. We are happy to report that the family is now doing well.
Two developmentally delayed children suffered years of abuse and neglect in their biological home. DCYF dismissed numerous concerning reports regarding these children and their home, which included information that registered sex offenders were being permitted to stay in the home and that the children were acting out sexually. DCYF would blame the children’s disabilities as the cause of their behavioral issues, instead of fully investigating the home. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $5,750,000.00 on behalf of these children.
Wenger v. State of Washington – Four children were placed into an abusive home where they were abused both physically and sexually by their foster (and later adoptive) parents. DSHS later admitted that they failed to adequately vet the Wengers prior to licensing them as foster parents. The four children received a global settlement of $5,300,000.
Coster v. State of Washington – Four foster children suffered physical and sexual abuse in an unlicensed foster home on the Nooksack Indian Reservation. The children were placed in the home due to a lack of communication between DSHS and the Nooksack Indian tribe. As a result of this case, the children received compensation in the amount of $5,050,000. In addition, the case resulted in changes in the information sharing procedures between DSHS and various Native American service agencies.
Stokes v. State of Washington -Two children were starved and abused by their step mother, Rebecca Long, over a three year period. The State ignored ample warnings provided by teachers at the children’s schools.
Ressler & Tesh obtained a settlement of $4,600,000 for the two minors.
The plaintiff, a young child, was placed into a foster home and forced to share a room with another foster child who was twice his age. Plaintiff was repeatedly sexually abused by the older foster child. DCYF knew of behavioral concerns, including sexually acting out, that the older foster child exhibited, yet DCYF did nothing to protect the plaintiff. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $4,000,000 on behalf of plaintiff.
Two young children were sexually abused and neglected in their biological home. DCYF received dozens of reports, yet repeatedly failed to properly investigate these reports. Finally, law enforcement rescued these children. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $3,500,000 on behalf of these children.
A.H. v. State of Washington – DSHS received dozens of reports over 10 years regarding abuse and neglect of A.H., yet completely failed to properly investigate or timely file for a dependency. When DSHS did remove A.H. from the mother’s home, it first placed A.H. into a foster home with a known history of sexual abuse. DSHS then placed A.H. with the biological father who had not being involved in the child’s life for over 10 years. The father had a conviction for child rape, which DSHS had failed to uncover, in addition to numerous other violent criminal convictions. A.H. endured sexual and physical abuse in both homes.
Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $2,600,000 on behalf of A.H.
Settled claim of child who suffered physical and sexual abuse due to negligent investigation by the State of Washington. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $2,360,000.00 on behalf of the plaintiff.
The plaintiff was sexually abused by her adopted brother after he was released from juvenile detention for a sex crime. Though the brother was a convicted sex offender, DCYF forced the adoptive parents to take the brother back into their home, even though he was a known risk to the plaintiff. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $2,250,000 on behalf of the plaintiff.
J.L. and L.L. v. DSHS – Two young children were sexually abused in their biological home and then placed by DSHS in the home of Nancy and Richard Wheeler where they were sexually abused by another minor. The children obtained a settlement of $1,825,000 which was used to purchase annuities which will provide support and counseling for the children over their lifetimes.
J.W. v. State of Washington – DSHS issued a foster care license to a convicted sex offender Jason Boothby. Subsequently, DSHS placed foster child J.W. with Boothby. DSHS failed to investigate Boothby’s background and failed to review its own juvenile records regarding Boothby. J.W. was sexually abused for over a year. Ressler & Tesh was able to obtain a $1,750,000 recovery for J.W.
Murray v. State of Washington – Having previously terminated the parental rights of James and Tracy Wright, the State nonetheless allowed them to care for four Oak Harbor children where they suffered horrific physical and sexual abuse. Ressler & Tesh obtained $1,500,000 to provide future care and counseling for the children.
Four residents of the Greenhill School were sexually abused by staff of Greenhill. Several criminal convictions followed. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $1,000,000 on behalf of these plaintiffs.
Verdict in jury trial against the Bellevue School District in case involving sexual abuse at elementary school between two young children. Ressler & Tesh obtained a recovery of $500,000.00.