Saturday, February 20, 2010

Siblings of Danieal Kelly, teen with CP who died of neglect, set to receive almost $2 million settlement

From The Philadelphia Daily News:

The siblings of Danieal Kelly, the 14-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who starved to death in her mother's Parkside home in 2006, are set to get a share of a $1.95 million settlement, a court document indicates.

A civil lawsuit that has been tentatively settled was filed on behalf of Danieal's estate, alleging negligence on the part of the social-service agency MultiEthnic Behavioral Health.

MultiEthnic had been contracted by the city's Department of Human Services to provide services to Danieal and her siblings. Four former MultiEthnic employees are on trial in federal criminal court on fraud charges. They are accused of not providing the proper visitation to Danieal, who was found dead Aug. 4, 2006, and to other families and of covering up their tracks.

MultiEthnic's civil attorney, Walter "Pete" Swayze III, said last week that a "confidential settlement" had been reached in the lawsuit "pending approval by the Orphans' Court."

The Daily News obtained the amount from a publicly available petition filed this week in Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. The petition, filed by the Raynes McCarty law firm, which represents Danieal's estate, seeks court approval of the settlement.

It says that now-defunct MultiEthnic and its employees were insured in the amount of $2 million "to potentially cover this tragic incident," referring to Danieal's death.

The petition notes that the Hartford Insurance Company has already settled a separate lawsuit, filed on behalf of Danieal's oldest brother, Troy Washington, for $50,000, leaving $1.95 million, which the insurance company has agreed to pay, pending court approval, to settle with Danieal's estate.

Danieal's parents, Andrea and Daniel Kelly, were initially named as administrators of their daughter's estate - and were potential beneficiaries of any settlement - but were later removed as administrators. A retired judge, Abraham Gafni, was then appointed administrator. The parents were added in an amended lawsuit as defendants.

Andrea Kelly has pleaded guilty to third-degree murder in her daughter's death and is in prison. Daniel Kelly faces trial on a child-endangerment charge.

Gafni is to distribute the net proceeds of the settlement to Danieal's 12 siblings, including Washington..

Attorney A. Roy DeCaro, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, said yesterday: "We're pleased to have this resolution on behalf of the siblings."