The jury demanded a record-breaking payout.
In what is believed to be the largest jury verdict ever handed down in an American assault case, a Georgia rape survivor was awarded a $1 billion payout, according to reports.
As reported by the New York Post, Hope Cheston, the victim of the assault, was 14 years old in October 2012 when she was attacked and raped by Brandon Lamar Zachary, an apartment security guard in an Atlanta suburb. Zachary had a history of disgusting behavior. The jury ruled that the company that employed him, Crime Prevention Agency, did nothing to properly monitor their employee, despite knowing about his history.
For their mistake, they're going to have to pay big.
"It’s one of the biggest victories for women in the United States," said Chris Stewart, one of Cheston's lawyers in the case. "They said a little black girl in Clayton County who was raped is worth $1 billion. That was a big win for us."
The company knew that Zachary had acted out against guests in the past, but "ignored the circumstances that any reasonable person would interpret as leading to the injury," according to the lawsuit. The apartment manager also failed to maintain a safe environment for visitors.
"For the longest, I just thought it was swept under the rug and that it no longer mattered and that it just is what it is," said Cheston. "But come to find out that 12 strangers feel like what I went through and my story and how I feel — after six years — is worth a billion dollars — that is life-changing, history-making. Just beautiful news to know."
While she is unlikely to receive the entire billion dollar settlement, the decision sets a stark precedent on the physical and emotional damage a crime like rape can inflict on the victim.