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$830,000 Settlement for Frostbite-Amputated Mentally Ill Man

Our client, a 52-year-old chronically mentally ill man, was under the care of a social service agency that was paid by taxpayers to essentially control all aspects of his life and assist him so he could function in society. Eventually, when problems arose, the agency neglected the man rather than providing him with the assistance he needed, and he became homeless. He nearly froze to death and acquired extreme frostbite that required the amputation of both his legs below the knees.

Due to his psychological and physical limitations, he now lives in a group home and will require assisted living for the remainder of his life.

In a preliminary action, Hupy and Abraham was able to convince a judge to declare that the man couldn’t be at fault for his injuries due to his mental illness. Unfortunately, before the case went to trial, the Wisconsin Supreme Court changed the law regarding mentally ill plaintiffs and overruled our judge’s decision. Attorney Jason F. Abraham explained, “This meant that the jury would be able to find that the man has not acted as a responsible person would have acted. In other words, this Supreme Court decision meant that our jury would have to evaluate the man’s actions as if he were not suffering from chronic mental illness.”

Despite this law change, Attorney Abraham was able to obtain additional money from the social service agency’s insurance company. He structured our client’s settlement so that his continuing medical needs would be met due to the complexity of the injuries. “The conditions of this settlement will dramatically improve the quality of this man’s life,” Attorney Abraham said.

Describing the results achieved by Hupy and Abraham, the judge-appointed attorney assigned to make financial decisions for the mentally man said, “This is an incredible result for the client. To obtain this type of a settlement and to structure it in a way that not only will his basic needs be met for the remainder of his life, but he will actually be able to enjoy life, is a better outcome that anyone could have imagined.”

Attorney Michael F. Hupy believes this case exemplifies the hard work and diligence his firm puts forth on every case. “This case was an example of doing whatever it takes in the face of adversity for our client. Appellate courts reviewed this case on four separate occasions and every time, we won. Attorney Abraham, along with all of our staff members, should be very proud of their efforts.”


Jason F. Abraham
Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham