Appeals court affirms $108.6 million award in Lee’s Summit woman’s death

The Kansas City StarJune 17, 2014 

A state appeals court has upheld a $108.6 million verdict awarded by a Jackson County jury in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a Lee’s Summit woman.

Following a December 2012 trial, the jury found in favor of the parents of Misty Mansfield, who died in 2007 of infection about a month after the home birth of a stillborn daughter.

Her parents, Gail and Darrell Mansfield of Kingsville, Mo., filed the suit against her husband, Caleb Horner, and his brother, John Horner. At the time of Mansfield’s death, Caleb Horner was a Lee’s Summit police officer.

A lawyer representing Mansfield’s parents had described the defendants as cult leaders who had isolated and brainwashed their followers, including Mansfield. The lawyer alleged that members of the group had used unsterilized household scissors in an attempt to deliver the infant, then kept Mansfield from receiving medical attention for a month.

The Horners, who represented themselves, insisted that Mansfield had not been isolated or kept from friends and family members, and that they had not attempted to impose their will upon her.

The Missouri Western District Court of Appeals affirmed the jury’s decision to award $8,650,000 in compensatory damages and $100 million for aggravating circumstances.

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