Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Brian Russell Wins Plaintiff Verdict In Crime Victim Case

Meyerkord Russell & Hergott won a bench trial verdict for their plaintiff who was a sexual assault victim in Kansas City, Missouri.

A judge sided with the plaintiff, represented by Brian Russell of Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott.

In 2019, the plaintiff was living with her three children (then 6, 7and 16) in an apartment owned by Oliver Abnos when, she alleged, Abnos sent an employee to her apartment to repair a clogged toilet that was leaking water onto the floor.

“Eventually [the maintenance visit] escalated to him pushing her against the wall, kissing on her, putting his hand down her pants,” said Russell. “Finally, she gets him off her and he leaves.”

The plaintiff contacted Abnos about the assault and requested the employee not return. “But Abnos kept sending him over to the property,” Russell said. “Then he let (the employee) move into the property next door to her.”

The plaintiff got a dog for protection and later fell behind on rent payments. The property management company then sued her for $2,400 in rent. When getting on a payment plan with Abnos didn’t work, she moved into temporary housing. The rent case was eventually dismissed.

In a January 2021 bench trial, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Joel Fahnestock entered a judgment awarding the tenant $1 million in punitive damages and $1 million for pain and suffering after hearing witness testimony and other evidence. “Essentially, she was trapped in (Abnos’) property until she was forced to move to a homeless shelter,” Fahnestock wrote in the ruling.

Unfortunately, Abnos never paid and in 2023 the court appointed a receiver to liquidate Abnos’ real estate holdings to pay the judgment.

“Everyone must be allowed to be and feel safe in their own home,” Attorney Brian Russell said. “We are very pleased that the judge recognized the plaintiff’s plight in this situation and that we were able to recover damages for our plaintiff’s suffering.”

Call Meyerkord, Russell & Hergott at 816.867.8611 for a free consultation.