Jury Foreperson in New Hampshire Youth Center Abuse Trial ‘Devastated’ Over Potential Award Reduction

David Meehan

In the lawsuit surrounding abuse at a New Hampshire state-run youth detention center, the jury foreperson expressed dismay over the possibility of reducing a $38 million award to just $475,000.

David Meehan, the plaintiff, alleged negligence on the state’s part, claiming he endured repeated rape, beatings, and solitary confinement as a teenager at the Youth Development Center in Manchester.

The jury awarded $18 million in compensatory damages and $20 million in enhanced damages to Meehan on Friday.

However, the attorney general’s office stated that the award would be slashed under state law, capping claimants’ recovery against the state at $475,000 per incident.

In an email to attorney Rus Rilee, the jury foreperson expressed regret, stating:

“Had we known that the settlement amount was to be on a per incident basis, I assure you, our outcome would have reflected it.”

Attorneys Rilee and David Vicinanzo are requesting a hearing to address the matter.

Meehan’s lawsuit, the first of its kind, emerged in 2017, leading to the arrest of 11 former state workers and over 1,100 lawsuits from former residents alleging abuse spanning six decades at the Youth Development Center.

Throughout the trial, Meehan’s attorneys painted a picture of systemic abuse, while the state argued against liability, citing procedural issues and Meehan’s credibility.