May 04, 2020

Fla. Woman Keeps $4.6M Award in Sex Abuse Suit Against Parents

A Florida appeals court has affirmed a Florida jury's $4.6 million award in a suit brought by a woman who accused her father of sexually abusing her for 16 years while her mother negligently failed to prevent the abuse.

A three-judge panel for the First District Court of Appeal on Thursday upheld the Alachua County jury's August 2018 verdict without issuing an opinion.

The jury had ruled in favor of Rebekka Trahan in a suit accusing Scott Mulholland Sr. of sexually abusing Trahan, his biological daughter, from the age of 8 until she left home at the age of 24. Trahan, who did not file her lawsuit under a Jane Doe alias, had also alleged that Mulholland encouraged her eldest brother, Scott Mulholland Jr., to sexually abuse her.

The jury found the elder Mulholland liable for child abuse and battery or sexual battery, and it awarded $4 million for past and future pain and suffering and mental anguish, and $643,000 for future medical expenses, according to the verdict. His wife, Tina Mulholland, was cleared of child abuse but found liable for negligence.

Trahan's attorney, Michael Dolce of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, applauded the appellate court's affirmance.

"We are pleased that the court has once again affirmed Rebekka Trahan's truth about the horrific abuse that came at the hands of her family," he said in a statement Thursday. "Nobody should have to experience the pain and suffering Rebekka endured, but this ruling today is critical for ensuring justice against her abusers."

The complete article can be accessed here.