Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ambulance company owes $3.25 million for sexual abuse by paramedic

An ambulance company responsible for ambulance transportation in the greater Portland, OR metro area was ordered to pay $3.25 million in damages to a woman sexually abused by a paramedic currently serving 5 years in prison for sexual assault on Wednesday, September 9. The award against American Medical Response, or AMR, goes as follows - $2.25 million in damages caused by the abuse itself, and another million because the victim, 29 year old Royshekka Herring, was determined to be a vulnerable victim under state law.

[Plaintiff attorney Greg Kafoury] also said there were “two smoking guns in this case.” The first, he said, is that [former paramedic Lannie]Haszard had three complaints against him in 14 months while working for AMR and he continued to keep his job. The other is that AMR kept information about previous accusations that had been reported to them from police.

AMR serves the greater Portland area. “When you call 911, that’s who you’re going to get,” said Kafoury.

AMR’s attorney, James Dumas, said in his closing argument that Haszard “is a master of deception” and that he fooled every single person whom he worked with at AMR. He urged that “AMR Northwest is also a victim” and that they, too, were abused by Haszard.

Besides Herring, other victims of the abusive paramedic were in court September 4, listening to the closing arguments. Paula Price, a victim who complained of molestation to Portland, OR police, was one of them. After Price went to police, Haszard was caught, arrested, and evnetually convicted. “If Paula Price made her report to AMR instead of the police, would Haszard be in jail?” asked Kafoury.

AMR was on the hook for punitive damages, but the request for punitive damages was denied by a Multnomah County jury on Thursday, September 10, the day after the verdict.

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