HAMMOND | A federal jury in Hammond on Tuesday awarded more than $31 million to a Knox family who sued five DCS officers, an Indiana State Police detective and a doctor after the parents were wrongfully accused of causing their daughter's death.
Roman and Lynnette Finnegan were awarded the verdict after a three-week trial in U.S. District Court, said Richard Waples, one of the family's attorneys.
The Finnegans' 14-year-old daughter, Jessica, was found dead in their Francesville, Ind., home in 2005. The Indiana Department of Child Services and Indiana State Police suspected the Finnegans caused Jessica's death and ultimately took custody of the couple's three other children and arrested the Finnegans, Waples said.
It was later determined that Jessica, who had a congenital heart defect and suffered from seizure disorder, died as a result of a medication error by her family doctor, Waples said. The doctor had prescribed too much warfarin, which caused hemorrhages in Jessica's brain, court records state.
The defendants in the case included Laurel Myers, Regina McAninch, Tracy Salyers and Reba James, all DCS employees, former DCS Director James Payne, Indiana State Police Detective Jennifer McDonald and Antoinette Laskey, a pediatrician who was employed at Riley Hospital for Children.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story had a headline suggesting the state had reached a settlement with Roman and Lynnette Finnegan. That was incorrect.