Author: Adam

The Missouri Wrongful Death Suit

The Missouri Wrongful Death Suit

$32-million settlement approved in child abuse death of 10-year-old Anthony Avalos in 2008.

• The lawsuit, which included claims of torture, false imprisonment, and unlawful imprisonment, was filed in California and Missouri.

• According to the suit, Rocha was ordered by authorities at the time to sign an affidavit that he “believes” his daughter’s “allegations are not true.” The affidavit was prepared under the assumption that the allegations were false, but Rocha was told his daughter’s mother would later testify that she believed the allegations were true.

• A jury in the Missouri trial found Rocha negligent for signing the affidavit. The Missouri Supreme Court agreed this was negligent and reduced the award in the subsequent wrongful death suit against Rocha and the county by $2-million.

• In the U.S. District Court, California Judge Susan Illston ruled the state of Missouri could have properly withheld the affidavit, but the amount the jury awarded was too low to award against the police and Rocha.

• The U.S. Supreme Court reduced the amount because the $32-million figure was “grossly inadequate.” This resulted in only $1-million in damages against Rocha and the state of Missouri.

• Under Missouri law, damages for punitive damages were awarded against Rocha and the county of St. Charles County. The damages were set at $1-million “plus $1.5-million in punitive damages.”

• Under California law, damages were reduced from $3-million, when the state did not have the case in its jurisdiction, to $1-million.

Leave a Comment