Court reverses award of sanctions against Hope Network and in favor of sexual assault victim
Susan Shaneberger sued the Hope Network Behavioral Health Services on behalf of her son who was sexually assaulted. She achieved a judgment of $316,000.00 after the Hope Network rejected a Case Evaluation of $350,000.00. Since the defendant didn't improve its position by ten percent (i.e., keep the verdict under 90% of the settlement evaluation, or $315,000.00) the lower court awarded Shaneberger costs and attorneys fees under the pertinent court rule. The Court of Appeals reversed and sent the case back to the lower court to re-compute the damage judgment. The Court held that the Hope Network's attorneys had not properly document the issues for appeal and that its arguments were, for the most part unwarranted. Nevertheless, it sent the case back to the trial judge to compute the reasonableness of the plaintiff's expert's billing, given the complexity of the case and the time spent actually providing testimony.