As reported in Law360, Law.com, and Courthouse News, on January 11, 2023, Judge Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued an order denying multiple motions by defendants’ seeking to dismiss the class action lawsuit brought by Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel against The Devereux Foundation/Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and Quality Health Staffing. The healthcare nonprofit, which specializes in treating children with intellectual disabilities, mental disorders, and trauma, is facing allegations that it failed to protect residents from being physically and sexually abused by staffers at its facilities in multiple locations across the U.S.
“These are incredibly tragic stories,” noted Lieff Cabraser partner Annika K. Martin, who represents the plaintiffs in the class action. “There are stories from every corner of the Devereux organization….They put themselves forward as an organization that protects and heals these vulnerable people…Instead, they harm, and they allow harm to happen.”
The case seeks both damages for the individually named plaintiffs and injunctive relief to protect the putative class of Deveraux patients over allegations that they are “subjected to the unnecessary (and foreseeable) risk of physical, emotional, and sexual assault caused by Devereux’s failure to have and/or enforce proper policies and procedures for the prevention of, and proper response to, such abuse.” With defendants’ attempts at dismissal now formally rejected by Judge Brody, the case will move forward through discovery and on to trial.
Martin said that plaintiffs’ attorneys are focused on drilling down specific policy changes that need to be made by Devereux to stop future abuse from happening.
In a memorandum order Thursday, Judge Brody wrote that plaintiffs “continue to suffer from the systemic deficiencies in Devereux’s hiring, retention, supervision and incident response policies alleged in the [complaint]. They need not wait to be victimized further to seek forward-looking relief.” She further stated that “plaintiff’s alleged injury is that they live in an environment with policies that expose them to an ongoing risk of abuse. Devereux’s policies are one cause of that alleged injury, and it cannot avoid this fact by hiding behind the actions of third parties – third parties, it bears noting, who are hired and supervised by Devereux pursuant to the policies recounted in the [complaint].
“The child-victims in this case are extremely gratified by Judge Brody’s clear and powerful opinion confirming their right to stand up and seek changes at Devereux so this kind of abuse can never happen to them – or anyone else – again,” said Martin.
Learn more about the Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Staff Sexual Abuses Class Action Lawsuit.
Contact a Sexual Abuse Lawyer at Lieff Cabraser
Lieff Cabraser represents survivors across the U.S. who have been victimized by sexual violence and sexual abuse. We treat every client with care, respect, and compassion as we bring our comprehensive legal skills forward on each case. We have a dedicated team of lawyers, nurse consultants, and paralegals experienced in working with and listening to survivors who work individually with every client in every case to see that justice is won.
You can call Lieff Cabraser partners Annika K. Martin or Mark Chalos toll-free today at 1 800 541-7358 or use the form below to send us a private email message. There is no charge or obligation for our review of your case, and all information provided will be held in the strictest confidence.