Wednesday, August 25, 2010

New York County Settles With Insurance Company On Abused Foster Kids

For all the law students and venturous attorneys who are seeking to break new ground in the field of law, allow me to introduce you, once again, to the emerging market of child welfare law.
The child welfare industry was designed with such pervasively administrative structures riddled with fraudulent financial incentives, uncapped funding and revenue-maximizing schemes handing out cost reimbursements to child placing agencies like crack rocks to a crackhead.  Not to mention thechild abuse propaganda and it becomes an industry of indifference.

Who cares when there are insurance polices and no federal financial penalties.

It is always so easy to complain, yet so rare to find a compliment. I would like to take the time to honor the brilliant attorneys in this New York case who had the courage to stand up and approach the issue from a different direction by empowering the whistleblower...the children.

Unlike Children's Rights, it looks like the ones who were harmed will actually be compensated.

If anyone has access to the filings, please, by all means, send them my way.

County settles insurance claims in foster child abuse case

Social Services was accused of negligence
By Colin DeVries
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
Published: Wednesday, August 25, 2010 2:15 AM EDT
CATSKILL — County lawmakers have approved a settlement with a Virginia-based insurance company over claims of sexual and physical abuse of children in a foster care home.

The claims originate from alleged abuses committed by foster father Jose Serrano of Cairo, which are currently being civilly litigated in Greene County Supreme Court.

In three suits filed with the supreme court, seven foster children claimed to have been physically and sexually abused, molested and sodomized while under the care of Serrano. The alleged abuse occurred between 1997 and 2000, according to the lawsuits. Most of the children were teenagers when the abuse occurred, according to court documents.

The suits cited Greene County and the county’s Department of Social Services as defendants in the case, claiming DSS was negligent in hiring, training and evaluating Serrano as a foster care provider. The first suit, filed in July 2001, states that two employees of DSS — identified as Jane Doe and John Doe — “failed in their duty to place infant plaintiff in a safe and stable foster home, due to the fact that the defendants knew, and/or reasonably should have known the defendant Jose Serrano was abusing, sodomizing and/or molesting the children within his care.”

While the cases against Serrano and DSS are still pending in Greene County Supreme Court, county lawmakers approved a settlement with Colony Insurance Company, one of two insurance agencies that covered sexual and physical abuse claims during that time period.

Though the insurance company claims it is not responsible for the majority of incidences of abuse due to contractual lapses in time — the county had also contracted with Selective Way Insurance Company of New Jersey during a portion of the period of abuse — the second insurance company believes they are responsible for coverage of at least four victims.

The resulting coverage from Colony would cover up to $250,000 for each sexual abuse claim, meaning up to $1 million.

Selective Way issued commercial general liability coverage with a limit of $1 million and an aggregate of $2 million during a period of the abuse, according to court filings.

The true value of the case may not shake out in court, however, after a settlement agreement is reached, according to Greene County Attorney Carol Stevens.

In response to the declaratory judgment action filed by Colony Insurance in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, Stevens thought it would be in the county’s best interest to reach a settlement agreement instead of fighting it out in court.

“In order to avoid the expense, inconvenience and uncertainty of litigating the declaratory judgment action,” the resolution stated, “(Colony, Greene County and Selective) desire and intend to settle fully and finally all matters in controversy between them.”

During an interview with Stevens last week, she did not know the monetary value that would be agreed to.

To reach reporter Colin DeVries please called 518-943-2100 ext. 3325, or e-mail
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