The state of Alaska has agreed to pay FR clients $2.4 million to settle a civil lawsuit that claimed the state failed to protect two boys who were abused and neglected in state foster care. The settlement comes after several days of disturbing testimony in a case that scrutinized the actions of the state agency. Over the boys’ childhood, the state received about 40 reports of abuse or neglect. Almost all were mishandled. The worst incident happened in 1999 when the boys saw their foster mother kill another child and the boys were forced to help cover up the crime.
The $2.4 million is in addition to a settlement already paid by the state to the family of the child killed. The money is not enough to make things right for the boys, their lawyers said. Their childhoods were lost. Their ability to hold jobs and live on their own is questionable. They both are emotionally shattered. But advocates for A.J. and D.D., now 17 and 18, agreed to accept the money because the state threatened to tie up any jury award with years of appeals, said Ken Friedman, an attorney based in Bremerton, Wash., for Friedman | Rubin. “Frankly they can’t wait years. They are about to turn 18 and 19 and they need the money to get on with their lives,” Friedman said.
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Sharon Gleason approved the settlement, which will be paid in two weeks. Plaintiffs were represented by Ken Friedman of FR and Chris Schleuss of Anchorage.