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After $5M Verdict, $50M in Punitives Tees Up State Damages Cap

child holding a finger over their mouth with an adult's hands on their shoulders

A Cobb County jury delivered a post-apportioned award of $5 million to a girl who was sexually assaulted at a Kennesaw behavioral health center, then tacked on $50 million in punitive damages in a move that will likely challenge the state’s $250,000 punitive damages cap. The jury also said the owner of the Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health facility must pay the plaintiff's attorney fees and expenses.

The young woman, who is not being named because she is a sexual assault victim, was 15 years old when the incident occurred. The victim, now 23, suffered multiple sexual traumas after first being abused at the age of 8 by a family member and has had "a really rough time " before and after the incident.

Plaintiff attorney Naveen Ramachandrappa said that, once the judge rules on the fees and enters a judgment, he will file a motion to have Georgia's punitive damage cap declared unconstitutional.

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