Multnomah County jury awards $4.1 million to girls abused by foster mother

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After a three-hour deliberation, Oregon's Department of Human Services was found liable on Friday by a Multnomah County jury for failing to protect two girls who were physically and sexually abused by their foster mother. The jury awarded the children a total of $4.1 million, the largest judgment against DHS in Oregon ever states The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.

After a two-week trial, a Multnomah County Jury found the State of Oregon's Department of Human Services liable on Friday for a foster parent’s sexual and physical abuse of two foster children, ages 2-4.

DHS certified then-31-year-old Kimberly Vollmer as a foster parent in 2011, despite knowing of a documented history of mental, residential and financial instability, as noted in records from DHS. Additionally, DHS ignored her recent termination from a job caring for a disabled adult due to repeated, serious medication errors.

After placing the plaintiffs and two other very young children in her care, DHS received several reports of abuse and neglect about the children in Vollmer's care.

Attorneys Erin Olson and Josh Lamborn represented the two children, who were identified by their initials, N.E. and E.S., in court filings. Both cases were filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court, E.S.'s case identified as Case No. 14CV05451, and N.E.'s as 1307-10856. Plaintiffs argued in their complaints that DHS was negligent in certifying Vollmer as a foster parent and in responding to repeated reports that she was abusing or neglecting the children in her care.

The jury returned with a verdict after less than three hours of deliberation with the maximum awards for each of the children, which totaled $4,100,000.

“The jury took its job as the conscience of the community seriously,” said Lamborn. "We only hope the Department of Human Services and the Oregon Legislature will hear and respond to the jury's message, and do what needs to be done to ensure these vulnerable children are placed in safe foster homes."

Both children have since been adopted by safe and loving families, and each lives with her biological sibling in her adoptive home.

For more information, contact Josh Lamborn at (503) 804-8096.

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