Albany, New York (August 1, 2022) – On Thursday, July 28, 2022, an Otsego County Jury rendered a unanimous verdict awarding a female plaintiff $2.75 Million in damages for past and future pain and suffering resulting from her rape by her friend’s brother, while she slept over at the friend’s home.
The lawsuit was filed in May 2018 alleging that the parents of her friend were negligent in allowing the plaintiff, who was under the age of consent at the time, to sleep in the bedroom of their 20-year-old son, whom they knew presented a danger to other young females. Specifically, the parents had been warned by school officials years earlier that their son was exhibiting sexually predatory behavior in school.
In May 2016, the plaintiff was invited to a sleepover at her friend’s home. The brother invited the plaintiff and his sister to watch a movie in his bedroom with the knowledge and consent of the parents. After the sister and parents fell asleep, he raped the plaintiff who was only 14 years old at the time.
After extensive motion practice, three appeals, and two trial adjournments due to Covid, the plaintiff finally had an opportunity to present her case to a jury. After a 9-day trial, it took the jury only 3 hours to render a verdict in favor of the plaintiff and against the parents and son. The jury found the parents at fault because of their failure to warn the plaintiff and her mother about the danger their son presented to other young females and their negligence in failing to protect and supervise the minor plaintiff while she was a guest in their home.
The jury verdict is a monumental day for justice. “The bravery and perseverance of the victim in this case was extraordinary.” said Carlo A. C. de Oliveira, the plaintiff’s lead trial counsel. “This incident occurred when she was only 14 years old. Most victims of sexual assault are afraid and embarrassed to report their assault even when they are adults and their assailant is a stranger. In this case, the assailant was her friend’s brother. It took this young lady 6 years to be vindicated. I hope that her story will help inspire other young victims of sexual assault to disclose their assault to authorities without the fear of not being believed.”
The plaintiff’s verdict in this case is one of the largest verdicts ever awarded by a Jury in Otsego County.
Carlo A. C. de Oliveira, a member of Cooper Erving & Savage LLP of Albany, represented the plaintiff. Mr. de Oliveira provides representation in personal injury and civil rights matters. At trial, he was assisted by associate Matthew Minniefield. N.Y. v Manikas, Index No. EF2018-454 (Sup. Ct., Otsego County).