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County insurer to pay millions in DeBrodie settlement

County insurer to pay millions in DeBrodie settlement

December 21st, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local News

Callaway County’s insurer is on the hook for $2 million in the DeBrodie civil lawsuit settlement.

“The settlement for $2 million will release all county entities and employees that remained in the suit,” said Ross Bridges, Callaway County’s lawyer in the suit. “The other terms are still sealed, and to confirm or deny any of them would be (a breach).”

Those other terms include information such as the frequency of payments.

Bridges said the county’s insurer, Missouri Public Entity Risk Management Fund, will be paying the $2 million.

“With every claim that we have, there’s a $1,000 deductible,” County Commissioner Gary Jungermann said. “Beyond that, the insurance company paid for everything: the attorney, the settlement, everything.”

Jungermann said he doesn’t know how this large settlement — the largest in his eight years with the commission, he said — will affect future insurance premiums for the county.

“MOPERM knew we were wrapped up in this, and our renewal notice for next year only included the same generic increase everyone else got,” he said. “I won’t know the answer to that question until next year’s (renewal notice) rolls around.”

Each January, the county pays approximately $260,000 or $270,000 for a blanket policy covering everything from buildings to vehicles, Jungermann said. He added the county is sued several times a year, with complaints usually originating from inmates in the county jail. This particular situation is unique in his memory, he said.

“A lot of times they just go away; other times, that’s minute dollars that get paid out for some reason, because insurance companies believe it’s just easier to settle than to fight it,” he said. “This was the biggy.”

Plaintiffs Carolyn Summers (Carl DeBrodie’s mother) and DeBrodie’s aunt Carol Samson, next friend to Summers and personal representative of DeBrodie’s estate, will be receiving all the settlement money as a structured annuity. The settlement agreement, finalized in December, is under court seal.

Defendants involved in the settlement include Second Chance Homes of Fulton; Second Chance owner Rachel Rowden and employees Sherry Paulo and Anthony Flores Sr.; community registered nurse Melissa DeLap; Callaway County Special Services; and the Callaway County Public Administrator’s office. State defendants in the civil suit were dismissed in October.

Rudy Veit, Summers’ lawyer, said in October that Summers will be receiving an amount each month, rather than a lump sum.

Second Chance was the supported living home where DeBrodie lived prior to his death at 31. The suit alleges 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.