$2.75 Million Settlement for Sexual Abuse Case at Equestrian Center
Minor rider sexually abused by stable hand
Partner Michael W. Lenert secured a $2.75 million settlement for “Jane Doe” who was sexually assaulted as a teenager by a stable hand at a northwest suburban equestrian facility where she was enrolled in riding lessons.
“While no amount of money can fairly compensate any victim of sexual abuse, this settlement allows my client to close this horrific chapter of her life and provides her with the financial support to further her educational and professional goals,” Mr. Lenert said. “Families send their children to riding programs expecting a culture of safety and growth. Unfortunately, despite its promises of being a safe place for my teenage client to learn and develop her skills as an avid horse rider, this facility recklessly allowed her to be left unsupervised with one of its employees that it should have known was unfit to be working around children.”
Through discovery and numerous depositions, it was determined that the stable was consistently leaving its vulnerable young female riders, including Jane Doe, alone and unsupervised with an adult male employee who had a criminal history and also happened to be related to the owner of the stable. This adult employee began sexually abusing Jane Doe after the owner of the facility, unbeknownst to Jane Doe’s parents, began allowing her relative and employee to individually train Jane Doe with no supervision by the stable.
The stable’s insurance carrier initially denied coverage and did not make any settlement offers for more than three years of litigation. Despite its steadfast denial of liability and insurance coverage, the evidence obtained by Mr. Lenert overwhelmingly supported Jane Doe’s claim that the facility was negligent in its supervision of its employees. After several months of protracted negotiations over both the insurance coverage and liability issues, the stable and its carrier agreed to pay $2.75 million to resolve the litigation.
“I am honored to have represented such a resilient young woman that had the strength to speak up in the midst of threats and acts to silence her,” said Lenert. “It gives me immense pleasure knowing that this resolution will enable my client to put this terrible tragedy in hindsight and live the life she had always envisioned for herself.”
If you have been a victim of sexual violence, you are not alone. Visit https://www.rainn.org/ to find an abundance of resources, including a free and confidential national sexual assault hotline available 24/7, to learn more about how to help yourself or others. Further information and resources can be found here. If you would like to consult one of our experienced sexual abuse lawyers for a free legal consultation, please visit here.
The settlement is subject to confidentiality prohibiting the disclosure of the names of the parties involved.