Multi-Million Dollar Verdict Against DHS

E.S. v. State of Oregon, Multnomah County Case No. 14CV05451

Plaintiffs are two girls, ages five and three, who were taken from their biological parents due to neglect and abuse. Defendant DHS certified Kimberly Vollmer as a foster care provider. Plaintiffs were placed in Ms. Vollmer’s care by DHS. Ms. Vollmer was tasked with caring for four children – who at the time were all under the age of four. During 2012 multiple reports were made to DHS about Ms. Vollmer regarding the foster children. The reports included: a report by a medical professional of Vollmer physically striking NE in the face with the back of her hand; a report of severe diaper rash and blistering to one of the other children; a report of smashed fingers, a bruised back and head to one of the other children; and a report of unexplained blood in a diaper and vaginal bleeding to one of the other children.  The reports were either closed at the screening by DHS or closed as “unfounded.”

In September of 2012, a DHS employee recommended careful re-evaluation of Ms. Vollmer for her fitness to serve as a foster parent due to the number of small children and the number of reported injuries. No action was taken.

During the time NE & ES were placed with Ms. Vollmer they suffered both sexual and physical abuse. Ms. Vollmer was criminally convicted on charges relating to the abuse by way of a guilty plea.

Defendant, State of Oregon (DHS) denied that the abuse ever occurred and that they owed any duty to the child or exercised any control over the foster care she received.  They also argued that the children were in contact with multiple mandatory reporters during the time they were allegedly abused and none made reports so how was DHS to know any abuse occurred, if it did.

Plaintiffs’ Counsel – Erin Olsen & Josh Lamborn

Defense Counsel – Dirk Pierson

Verdict – $2,050,000.00 for each Plaintiff

Date – December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

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