Attorneys Brooke Holmes and Randall Knutson of the Mankato firm Knutson + Casey helped win justice for a teenage victim of sexual abuse by an older maintenance man who worked in the victim’s family’s Section 8 apartment complex.
After the victim reported the abuse, the property management company retaliated by attempting to illegally evict the family. Holmes took on the case and brought a civil lawsuit to get the family some relief.
After pursuing an action through the Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure that similar conduct did not happen to other vulnerable tenants, Holmes pursued a civil action against the maintenance man and Paramark Real Estate Services for multiple causes of action, including sexual abuse and the violation of the Federal Fair Housing Act. Holmes helped the family win a significant financial settlement. (There was no criminal prosecution).
Holmes was uniquely qualified to handle the case, since she herself had been a victim of childhood sexual abuse. When she took on the case, she spent several hours with the victim, “who had not been very open with anybody she had talked to up to that point.” Gaining the girl’s trust and establishing a rapport, Holmes took over the lead role in the case.
Holmes also needed to talk with the client and her father to “help them realize that no amount of money was going to make the trauma go away, but that a settlement would probably be the best option, so she wouldn’t have to go through deposition and trial and keep reliving the abuse.” Holmes advised the girl on the most sensible way to handle the settlement, and helped her set up an annuity to pay for college, once she had reached the age of 18.
The settlement “really sets her up for the rest of her life, to go to college, get a job and have stable housing,” says Holmes, who also helped her client get insurance that will pay for further counseling.
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