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Settlement reached in DeBrodie civil case

Settlement reached in DeBrodie civil case

December 7th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Members of the late Carl DeBrodie's family got together Saturday, April 21, 2018, just over a year after he was reported missing, to remember happier times. His former legal guardians, Bryan, back left, and Mary Martin, attended, along with his brother Nicolas Clark, stepfather Larry Summers, front left, mother Carolyn Summers and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Photo by Helen Wilbers /News Tribune.

Terms of a settlement in the Carl DeBrodie wrongful death suit have been approved by a judge.

Initially announced in early October, the settlement's terms have been finalized, according to court documents.

"I'm glad it's over with," said Carol Samson, DeBrodie's aunt. "I wish (the criminal case) was done."

Defendants involved in the settlement include Second Chance Homes of Fulton; Second Chance owner Rachel Rowden; employees Sherry Paulo and Anthony Flores Sr.; community registered nurse Melissa DeLap, who surrendered her license in August following a settlement with the Missouri State Board of Nursing; Callaway County Special Services; and the Callaway County Public Administrator's office. State defendants in the civil suit were dismissed in October.

All parties are to pay their own attorney fees and expenses.

Second Chance was the supported living home where DeBrodie lived prior to his death at 31. The suit alleges while under the care of Second Chance, negligent acts and omissions by the defendants and a failure to provide life-saving measures or medical services led to DeBrodie's death in late October 2016.

Family members didn't learn of DeBrodie's death until Second Chance reported him missing in April 2017. His body was found later that month, severely decomposed, in a storage unit rented by Second Chance.

Plaintiffs Carolyn Summers (DeBrodie's mother) and Samson, next friend to Summers and personal representative of DeBrodie's estate, will be receiving an undisclosed amount of money as a structured annuity. The settlement agreement is under court seal.

Samson and Summers' lawyer, Rudy Veit, told the Fulton Sun in October  that Summers will be receiving an amount each month, rather than a lump sum.

"(The settlement) was enough to take care of Carolyn Summers for the rest of her life," he said.

He added Thursday concluding the litigation was likely in Summers' best interest.

"It needed to be brought to an end because of my client's condition," he asid. "Litigation wears on anybody."

Samson agreed the settled amount was reasonable. She added she plans to donate some of the money to the Special Learning Center in Jefferson City and Camp Wonderland at Lake of the Ozarks, both of which serve disabled children and adults.

According to court documents, she also intends to fund a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation to provide for DeBrodie's sister's needs. During the Nov. 11 settlement approval hearing, Judge Douglas Harpool reminded Samson of her obligation to consider Summers' best interest as her next friend, though he neither disapproved nor approved of the plan.

Mary and Bryan Martin were present at the approval hearing. DeBrodie lived with the couple for several years prior to his stay at Second Chance. In April, the pair filed to intervene as plaintiffs in the civil suit, though the court ultimately found they do not belong in the class of beneficiaries and were not eligible to intervene.

By accepting the settlement's term and receiving the payments, the plaintiffs discharge any further claims against the defendants related to DeBrodie's civil rights, alleged wrongful death or rights of sepulcher.

Criminal proceedings in the DeBrodie case are ongoing. Sherry Paulo and Anthony Flores Sr., along with three other Second Chance employees, face charges in connection with DeBrodie's death. A federal investigation is ongoing.

"The criminal case is my main focus right now," Samson said. "The money is nothing. The legal case is everything."