EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – The State of Oregon has settled a lawsuit filed by the estate of Jeanette Maples, the Eugene teenager who died at the hands of her mom and stepfather.
According to paperwork filed in Lane County Circuit Court this week, the Oregon Department of Human Services has agreed to settle the case without going to trial for a total of 1.5 million dollars, the maximum allowed in a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Oregon.
Jeanette died in December 2009 from physical abuse, starvation and a lack of medical care at the hands of her mother, Angela McAnulty and her stepfather, Richard McAnulty. Angela McAnulty is now on death row for her role in her daughter’s death. Richard McAnulty is serving life in prison for allowing the abuse to happen.
As Maples didn't leave a will and was only 15-years old at the time of her death, her estate is currently represented by a Portland attorney, Erin Olsen. Olsen was appointed as the personal representative by the court after Maples father, Anthony Maples, failed to win representation of the estate in court.
In the wrongful death lawsuit, another Portland attorney, David Paul represented Olsen and the Maples Estate in court.
According to Paul, as part of the settlement, Paul will receive $500,000 for attorney fees.
Of the remaining 1 million dollars, $7,000 has already been spent to cover Jeanette's funeral and burial expenses.
By Oregon law, the rest of the funds will go to Jeanette's biological father, Anthony Maples. Jeanette's mother, Angela McAnulty cannot benefit from a crime that she committed. Because Jeanette did not have a will, her siblings cannot receive any of the settlement, as siblings are not considered heirs to an estate under Oregon law.
According to Paul, Maples has already discussed making a significant charitable contribution with the funds.
“I think if you are in a position where you observe something that you consider to be wrong in the way that a child is handled, you should call law enforcement or DHS, and not be concerned about over-reporting,” says Paul.
“If these cases are properly brought to the attention of our officials, then at least we have a chance of keeping them from the tragic result that we experienced here,” says Paul.
Paul says the point of the lawsuit was to put Oregon's DHS “on notice,” saying three major failures on DHS behalf contributed to Jeanette's death.
Paul says Oregon DHS should not have ignored multiple requests to look into reported abuse and concerns about Jeanette's health. Second, Paul says Oregon DHS should have looked into information about Jeanette and her family filed in California's DHS system. Third, Paul says Oregon DHS should not has subscribed to a policy that a 13 year-old could care for themselves.