Ravena attorney wins record-setting verdict

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Ravena attorney Carlo de Oliveira obtained one of the largest verdicts in Otsego County history. Courtesy of Pexels

RAVENA — Ravena attorney Carlo de Oliveira won one of the largest verdicts awarded by a jury in Otsego County.

Working on behalf of the family of a teenager who was raped in 2016, de Oliveira obtained a record $2.75 million in damages.

The young woman, whose name has not been released, was raped by the brother of a friend while she slept over the friend’s home, according to de Oliveira’s Albany-based law firm, Cooper Erving & Savage.

The lawsuit was filed by the family in May 2018 alleging that the parents of the friend “were negligent in allowing the plaintiff, who was under the age of consent at the time, to sleep in the bedroom of their 20-year-old son, whom they knew presented a danger to other young females,” according to the law firm.

According to court documents, the parents had been “notified of prior incidents of alleged sexual misconduct by the relative, and that they were aware of disciplinary actions that had been instituted in response to these prior allegations.”

The earlier allegations were related to incidents that allegedly took place at the defendants’ son’s school, according to court documents.

The court case stems from an incident in May 2016 when the teenage girl was invited to a sleepover at the friend’s home. The two girls and the friend’s brother watched a movie in his bedroom and after the sister and parents fell asleep, the brother raped the 14-year-old girl, according to Cooper Erving & Savage.

The case was heard in court after three appeals by the defendant, which were denied, according to court documents, and two trial adjournments due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The trial was held over nine days and the jury came back with their decision after three hours of deliberations, finding in favor of the young woman’s family.

“The jury found the parents at fault because of their failure to warn the plaintiff and her mother about the danger their son presented to other young females and their negligence in failing to protect and supervise the minor plaintiff while she was a guest in their home,” according to the law firm.

The jury awarded the family $2.75 million in damages for past and future pain and suffering resulting from the rape. It is one of the largest verdicts in Otsego County history, according to the Albany law firm.

“The bravery and perseverance of the victim in this case was extraordinary,” de Oliveira said. “This incident occurred when she was only 14 years old. Most victims of sexual assault are afraid and embarrassed to report their assault even when they are adults and their assailant is a stranger. In this case, the assailant was her friend’s brother. It took this young lady six years to be vindicated.”

“I hope that her story will help inspire other young victims of sexual assault to disclose their assault to authorities without the fear of not being believed,” de Oliveira concluded.

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