New Hampshire Youth Center Abuse Trial: Jury Foreperson Disheartened by Potential Award Reduction

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Written By Blue & Gold NLR Team





In a landmark lawsuit concerning abuse at a state-run youth detention center in New Hampshire, attorneys for the plaintiff are seeking a hearing following expressions of dismay from the jury foreperson regarding a potential reduction in the awarded compensation.

David Meehan, the plaintiff, was awarded $38 million by the jury on Friday, comprising $18 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in enhanced damages.

However, the attorney general’s office indicated that the award might be reduced to $475,000 under state law, which limits claimants against the state to this maximum amount per incident.

The jury foreperson, in communication with attorney Rus Rilee, expressed profound regret over the situation, indicating that had they known about the per-incident basis for settlement, the outcome might have been different. The request for a hearing, filed promptly after this communication, seeks to address this issue and ensure a fair resolution for Meehan.

Meehan’s case has been a focal point in shedding light on the alleged negligence of the state, allowing instances of repeated abuse, including rape, beatings, and solitary confinement, to occur at the Youth Development Center in Manchester during his teenage years.

This case prompted a significant legal battle, with numerous former state workers facing legal action and over 1,100 former residents filing lawsuits alleging abuse spanning decades.

During the trial, Meehan’s legal team painted a picture of a culture of abuse within the center, characterized by pervasive brutality and a code of silence. They presented testimony from witnesses, including former staffers and residents, detailing instances of abuse and institutional failure to address concerns.

In contrast, the state argued against liability for the actions of individual employees and questioned the timing of Meehan’s lawsuit. Witness testimony from the state’s side sought to undermine Meehan’s credibility, portraying him as a violent individual and questioning the validity of his claims.

This trial not only represents a pivotal moment for Meehan but also brings attention to broader issues surrounding accountability and justice within state-run institutions. The outcome of the hearing will be closely watched as it navigates the complexities of compensating victims of institutional abuse.”

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