Defendants in Carl DeBrodie lawsuit file for dismissal

1 year 10 months 3 weeks ago Tuesday, April 03 2018 Apr 3, 2018 Tuesday, April 03, 2018 7:00:00 PM CDT April 03, 2018 in Top Stories
By: Kyreon Lee, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - It has been nearly a year since police found the decomposed body of Carl DeBrodie wrapped in plastic and encased in concrete in a Fulton storage unit.

DeBrodie's mother Carolyn Summers is suing 23 people in a wrongful death lawsuit. Of those, nearly a dozen filed two separate motions on March 30 to dismiss the case, according to court records. 

Summers' attorney, Rudolph Veit said the next steps is narrowing down who is responsible.

"Our job is to try to find out what happened,  hold those responsible and use this as evidence to their superiors, that they need to watch over their employees better to make sure that the state employees who are being paid for and set in places to protect these type of people, do their job," he said.

Those who filed denying liability include the following state agencies and their leaders:

  • The state of Missouri; the Missouri Department of Mental Health
  • The Missouri Department of Mental Health and its director, Mark Stringer
  • The Division of Developmental Disabilities
  • The Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Community Operations and its director, Wendy Witcig
  • The Missouri Department of Mental Health and its director, Valerie Huhn
  • The department's Division of Disabilities, Central Region and its assistant director, Marcy Volner
  • The Division of Disabilities' Central Missouri Regional Office and its director, Wendy Davis. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley said the suit notes DeBrodie died of an unknown cause, which is "at least as likely to be the result of natural causes or intentional conduct" as the result of negligence.

Without knowing the cause of death, he said, the plaintiffs don't have enough facts to conclude the state defendants are a "proximate cause of death." 

A motion filed by attorneys Ross Bridges and Sarah Crawford on behalf of Callaway County and Public Administrator Karen Digh Allen raises the same issue.

"Most importantly, Plaintiffs do not know how or why Carl died, when he died, how he died, or who was responsible for his death or the disposal of his remains," the motion said. "Without that knowledge, Plaintiffs cannot arbitrarily reach the conclusion that Defendants Allen, Callaway County, and the Public Administrator are liable."

Veit said DeBrodie was not cared for responsibly. 

"We believe there were certain actions that should've been taken before his death. We believe from what we've heard and from other individuals that he was grossly mistreated while in their car," he said.

DeBrodie, who was developmentally disabled, lived at a supported living facility managed at that time by Second Chance Homes of Fulton.

The Hawley motion said since DeBrodie was under the care of Second Chance Homes, a private company, the state defendants cannot be held responsible for occurrences there. The motion said state agencies and state agency defendants have "sovereign immunity" from state law claims.

Second Chance Homes has until April 6 to respond to the case.

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