Settlement in DeBrodie lawsuit signed by judge

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JEFFERSON CITY - A federal judge approved the settlement in the death of Carl DeBrodie.

The settlement was reached in October, but was made official Wednesday. A judge is required to sign off in a wrongful death case.

DeBrodie's mother, Carolyn Summers, and sister-in-law Carol Samson, settled with Second Chance Homes, the organization DeBrodie was staying with.

The settlement does not list the amount Summers and Samson will receive. But, it said the defendant's insurance will pay for it.

The attorneys with Carson & Coil, the firm that represented Summers, will receive $3,340.84 for fees and expenses.

One of the attorneys defending Summers, Rudy Viet, said the settlement will help protect Summers. The rest of it will be donated to different organizations that helped DeBrodie throughout his life.

Attorney Gabe Harris, who also represented Summers, said he is not publicly able to discuss the details of the case. However, he did say he's happy the family can get some sort of closure.

"Obviously this is a very traumatic ordeal for the family to go through," Harris said. "Being able to settle this provides closure for the family."

Viet said continuing litigation would have made Summers relive the pain.

"You wished it never happened. You realize that money doesn't replace what has happened. People need to come to certain amount of acceptance and peace," he said.

The lawsuit stated Second Chance employees forced DeBrodie to fight another resident for the employees' entertainment. As a result, DeBrodie "suffered several injuries, including at least six broken ribs."

Viet said he hopes this makes other organizations providing similar care be aware of their responsibilities.

"The organizations taking care of special needs people need to be aware that they have a very serious job, and if they neglect it, they have consequences," he said.

Mary Martin and her husband, Bryan Martin, were guardians for DeBrodie from ages 11 to 18. They wanted to adopt and gain custody of him before he died. 

"I knew it wasn't a good environment for him," she said. "We loved him just like he was our own. He was a part of our family, had been a part, we raised him."

The Martins were not part of the wrongful death suit. Mary said any money they would have received would have gone toward the non-profit they started in DeBrodie's name.

"We could have cared less if there was any money awarded. We started this foundation, and we're going to help other people. That's where our mindset is," she said. 

She said when it gets warmer, they will hold fundraisers for their non-profit, Carl's Helping Hands. For now, they're focused on the criminal proceedings.

"I'm more about the criminal. We're really focused on when people are going to court, being in the courtroom and hearing the testimonies, and things that go on in there," she said. "It's the justice part. People going to jail and the justice."

We reached out to the attorneys representing Second Chance Homes, but they said they have no comment on the settlement.

A Timeline of Events in the Carl DeBrodie Case

April 17, 2017: 31-year-old Carl DeBrodie reported missing from Second Chance Home

April 24, 2017: Carl DeBrodie’s body found incased in concrete 

May 16, 2017: FBI and Missouri Attorney General’s Office assist in the death investigation

May 17, 2017: Documents discovered missing from records of Second Chance Homes

May 24, 2017: Missouri Association of County Development Disabilities Services creates committee to change policies to prevent abuse and neglect

October 30, 2017: Former Second Chance Home employee files a worker’s compensation claim

January 23, 2018: Carolyn Summers, DeBrodie’s mother, files wrongful death lawsuit against Second Chance Homes

March 30, 2018: Motion to dismiss filed in wrongful death lawsuit

May 30, 2018: Complaint says DeBrodie died of fight-related injuries

June 11, 2018: Two of the five defendants in DeBrodie case plead not guilty to charges, including involuntary manslaughter

June 12, 2018: Missouri Attorney General’s office files a motion to dismiss civil rights violation charges against state employees

July 1, 2018: Missouri Coalition for Quality Care calls for review of the Department of Mental Health

August 20, 2018: Nurse connected to the death investigation pleads guilty to to health care fraud

September 28, 2018: State officials dropped from suit over DeBrodie’s death

October 4, 2018: Settlement reached in DeBrodie case

December 5, 2018: Settlement is made official by judge