Raleigh lawyer wins $19 million for kin
An update on Raleigh lawyer winning $19 million in birth injury case
March 8, 2016
By Marvea Francis
In 2002, a headline in The Raleigh News & Observer announced: “Raleigh lawyer wins $19 for kin.” The Raleigh lawyer was Charles T. Francis who represented Patricia Townsend and her son, Damen, in a medical malpractice victory. Ms. Townsend’s teenage son, Damen, born on July 20, 1983, suffered cerebral palsy and severe brain damage after his brain was deprived of oxygen during labor.
According to the trial transcript, a nurse at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Chicago attached a fetal heart monitor to Ms. Townsend’s abdomen but failed to notice when the fetus’ heart reacted late to her contractions. Records from the heart monitor showed the baby was deprived of oxygen for at least five hours. Doctors performed an emergency C-section the next morning once they checked the status of the fetus.
Francis won a $19 million dollar settlement for Ms. Townsend and Damen, one of the largest settlements for a birth injury ever won by a North Carolina lawyer. The settlement was reached during jury deliberations after a month-long trial. It secured a guaranteed multi-million dollar recovery for his clients. Shortly thereafter, the jury returned a verdict of $20.25 million dollars.
Following the trial in 2002, Francis forecast that, “[the money] will provide for all of Damen’s needs for what we hope will be a very long time.” Nearly fourteen years later, Damen is approaching 33 years of age and living a miraculously blessed life. Living on a scenic handicap accessible farm in Alabama he shares with his mother and adopted special needs brother, he is going strong and smiling all the time.
A proud, doting, and loving mother, Ms. Townsend hires round-the-clock care for Damen, which she scrupulously oversees, and insists on overall stellar care. When her church built a new building recently, she assisted in adding an area for handicapped members so that her son and other special needs church members would have a place to worship. Doctors are in awe of Damen and his mother’s fierce love and dedication.
Francis remains a loyal advocate for Ms. Townsend and Damen. “Winning a $20 million dollar verdict for the Townsends in 2002 was a highlight. But, it has been far more gratifying to see how Damen and his mother have lived and thrived in the almost 14 years since the verdict. We cannot change what happened to clients before they come to us but we can help secure their futures” said Francis.
Damen on the farm in Alabama