Updated: Jun 15, 2010 12:11 AM PDT
A local family got a multi-million settlement after their loved one dies a horrible death trapped in a sweltering car. The money came from a company who cares for mentally challenged adults. The company who was responsible for the woman on the day she died.
The details of Gail Neidleman’s death are almost too hard to handle.
“It’s a terrible thing,” says Rob Murdock, the family’s attorney. “The pictures were horrible and just the thought of your relative being cooked to death…”
The gruesome end of Gail Neidleman’s life came on a hot August day in 2007.
The 56-year-old autistic, schizophrenic, mentally retarded woman was where she spent most days at the now shut down Green Willow adult day care center operated by Utah-based Danville Services.
“She had to have 24-hour care,” says Gail’s cousin, Marvin Heit. “They got her into a program through the State.”
The State paid Danville Services to take care of Gail, who had the mental capacity of a six-year-old.
But no one was watching when she wandered out the front door of her day care and somehow got into an abandoned car that was parked less than 30 feet away.
Gail got in, but couldn’t get herself out and no one found her until it was too late.
“We went out and bought an exemplar car. We had software written. We had the foremost expert come in and prepare a report that basically likened the conditions that Gail suffered to the Nazis. She was trapped in an oven and died that way,” Murdock explained.
Last week, Attorneys Rob Murdock and Marty Keach got Danville to pay Gail’s family nearly $3.2 million dollars.
Although Danville admitted no liability in the settlement, last summer, a judge found the company responsible for Gail’s death.
“When defendants write a big check, that’s their apology. They’re never gonna come out and say we’re sorry, we did something wrong, but what they’re gonna do is write a big check,” Murdock said.
He says people with loved ones who still reside in the group homes Danville runs here in Las Vegas and Mesquite should take comfort that something good did come out of this case.
“Danville has learned their lesson. Danville has paid a lot of money and they are now training their people better, they have written policies and procedures that they’re following through with and we can only hope that this will never happen again.”
According to Danville Services’ website, they bill themselves as among the largest providers of group home services in the Las Vegas area.
We contacted them, but they said they were unable to comment until the settlement is finalized.