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Disability Rights Maryland and Venable recently reached a settlement with the State of Maryland to completely overhaul sexual abuse protections in all state-run hospitals and treatment facilities. Under the settlement, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) will institute a comprehensive set of reforms with uniform protections against sexual assaults for all patients in state-run facilities.

Two years ago, DHMH was sued by Jane Doe, an individual who, while in the custody and care of two separate DHMH facilities, was sexually assaulted twice, by two different patients, resulting in severe trauma and emotional injuries. On behalf of Ms. Doe, Venable and Disability Rights Maryland filed suit alleging that the state negligently failed to protect her and violated her Constitutional rights. Following 20 months of negotiations, the State has agreed to award Ms. Doe the maximum damages recovery allowed under the State Tort Claims Act. In addition, DHMH has agreed to valuable service commitments that will continue and be available to Ms. Doe as long as she needs them.

“She will get both the services she needs and a very significant pot of money that will go to provide any extra help that is needed for her in the future,” Venable partner Mitch Mirviss, who worked with Disability Rights Maryland representing Ms. Doe, told the Baltimore Sun.

The Daily Record and Maryland Reporter also featured news of the settlement. In addition to Mirviss, Stephen Marshall, Michael Hecht, Kevin Cross, and Carl Ehrhardt represented Ms. Doe with Disability Rights Maryland.