VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT REJECTS DISABLED MAN'S CHALLENGE TO CHARITABLE IMMUNITY LAW
The Supreme Court of Virginia has rejected a disabled adult's challenge to Virginia's charitable immunity law in a case filed against Didlake, Inc.
Juan R. Jimenez, a 25-year-old man with severe mental and physical disabilities had alleged in a lawsuit that employees of Didlake, Inc., a major provider of services and jobs for the disabled in Virginia, caused a severe leg fracture when handling him on April 13, 2007.
Didlake denied that it was responsible in any way and asserted that it was immune from being sued because it was a charitable corporation. Jimenez, through his attorney, Benjamin Glass, asserted that Didlake was "big business" doing approximately $32 million a year in revenue and that the charitable immunity laws were never intended to protect a major corporate enterprise.
Charitable immunity is a common law doctrine abolished by most states. This doctrine provides that a charitable entity cannot be sued by a beneficiary who is injured while in its care.
Glass III, a personal-injury lawyer based in Fairfax, Va., says:
"In some ways Virginia is still in the dark ages when it comes to who it grants immunity from lawsuit to. The law, carried over from England, was designed to ensure that money donated to a charity was not used to pay lawsuits. Didlake receives less than .02 percent of its revenue from donations, and it is fully insured."
Jimenez's mother, Iris N. Figueroa-Jimenez, said:
"I am very disappointed that we will never know exactly what happened to Juan that day. Because of his condition he cannot speak and relies 100% on other people to care for him. I sent him to Didlake in good condition that day and he ended up needing surgery and a rod placed in his leg. I don't understand how the law could say that the courthouse doors are closed to someone like him."
To schedule an interview with Attorney Benjamin Glass, call 703-591-9829. A Q&A sheet on this case is available.
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