You may recall the case of De Villers v. County of San Diego (Mar. 2006; Jul. 2006). Kristin Rossum was found guilty of poisoning husband Gregory de Villers and trying to make his death look like a suicide; his family sued both Rossum and her employer, the county of San Diego, and a jury found that Rossum was only 75% responsible, but that still put taxpayers on the hook for $1.5 million. An appellate court has stepped in to belatedly throw out the case against the County. (via On Point)
A judge has cut from $100 million to $10 million the punitive damages portion of an unusual verdict in a lawsuit arising from Kristin Rossum’s alleged murder by poison of her husband, Gregory de Villers. The distinctive feature of the verdict, on which we commented Mar. 27, was that the jury assigned 25 percent responsibility for the murder to Rossum’s employer, San Diego County, which employed her as a toxicologist and was said to be blameworthy for letting her steal drugs which she administered to him. (“Judge Cuts $90 Million in Damages in San Diego Murder Case”, AP/L.A. Times, Jun. 19)(via Childs).
In a sensational 2002 murder trial with echoes of the film “American Beauty”, Kristin Rossum was found guilty of poisoning husband Gregory de Villers and trying to make his death look like a suicide. Now a lawyer for de Villers’ family has convinced a jury that Rossum’s employer, San Diego County, should be held 25 percent responsible for $6 million in resulting wrongful-death damages. Rossum had access to lethal drugs through her work as a toxicologist for the county, and had not been subject to background screening; she relapsed into methamphetamine use a week before the murder. “It is not the duty of the county of San Diego to prevent a wife from murdering her husband,” said Senior Deputy County Counsel Deborah A. McCarthy, who predicted that the county would succeed in overturning the verdict on appeal. “If this case stands, it will expand public liability in a way the state of California never envisioned.” (“Millions of Dollars Awarded to Family of Man Killed by Toxicologist Wife”, North County Times, Mar. 20)(via Childs). Update Jul. 2: judge cuts verdict.