Howell et al. v. Normal Life of Georgia, Inc., et al.
Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP (HPTY), a national litigation firm, succeeded in obtaining a dismissal of all claims against Defendants after nearly five years of litigation in a negligence and breach of contract case in connection with the Plaintiff’s imprisonment after he fled Defendants’ supervision and sexually assaulted a woman within minutes of eloping. Christopher Tiegreen was incarcerated and pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting his victim, among other charges. Plaintiff Laura Howell, as next friend of Tiegreen, alleged that Defendants, who were providing residential care to Tiegreen, failed to adequately supervise and care for him by enabling him to flee the premises in violation of the terms of his contract for care. Tiegreen, who previously suffered a traumatic brain injury, was known to elope and be susceptible to impulse control. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s grant of summary judgment on the negligence claims and reversed the trial court’s denial of summary judgment on the breach of contract claim. In its opinion, the Court of Appeals cited Georgia’s public policy that one may not profit from his own act of wrongdoing. The Court held that because it was undisputed that Tiegreen pleaded guilty to the crimes and knowingly committed them, Plaintiff’s claims against Defendants were barred.