$16.8 Million Verdict Against Archdiocese Upheld

$16.8 Million Verdict Against Archdiocese Upheld

A Wisconsin appeals court upheld a $16.8 million dollar verdict against the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the church’s insurer for a car crash that severely injured an 85-year-old man.

Margaret Morse was running an errand for the Legion of Mary, a group with links to the archdiocese, when she crashed into the vehicle of Hjalmer Heikkinen. The collision left Heikkinen paralyzed from the neck down.

Last year, a jury ruled in favor of Heikkinen, awarding him $15 million for his pain and suffering, $1.3 million for medical expenses, and $500,000 for his wife. The archdiocese and its insurer filed an appeal, claiming that the award was excessive.

On Wednesday, the state appeals court ruled that the verdict against the archdiocese and its insurer was not excessive.

The archdiocese said it planned to liquidate its assets in order to pay its debts, which include a nearly $17 million settlement of 10 sexual abuse claims against two priests.

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