Stephanie Moulton was employed by a residential treatment counselor at North Suffolk Mental health Association, Inc. in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The organization contracted with the Commonwealth to provide various mental health services to individuals affiliated with the Department of Mental Heath and the Department of Correction. On January 20, 2011, while at the organization’s treatment facility in Revere, Ms. Moulton was brutually assaulted by one of the facility’s residents. As a result of the vicious attack she sustained, Ms. Moulton was taken to the hospital where she ultimately succumbed to death. After her passing, the Estate of Stephanie Moulton brought suit against the director of the organization, the patient-tortfeasor, two consultants that admitted the patient, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Estate brought claims against the Defendants under the Wrongful Death statute in Massachusetts. The complaint alleged that the patient-tortfeasor had a history of convictions and violent crimes as well as mental health history showcasing a violent propensity toward others. The complaint further alleged that counselors, such as Ms. Moulton, were made unaware of the history of patients such as the tortfeasor, and were therefore unequipped to deal with such patients. The complaint alleges that if the director defendants had allowed or required a proper examination of prospective clients, and provided access to information in the possession of referring agencies indicating prospective clients’ criminal histories and previous violent tendencies, the patient-tortfeasor would not have been deemed an appropriate client for admission to North Suffolk’s Revere facility. Further, had North Suffolk employees at that facility been given information about clients’ violent backgrounds, and had they been provided adequate training, staffing, and equipment for the appropriate handling of clients with violent criminal histories and violent tendencies, the Ms. Moulton would not have been left alone with patient and she accordingly would not have been killed. Continue reading →