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SJC Dismisses Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The Supreme Judicial Court found that the directors of North Suffolk Mental Health are not liable for damages to the family of Stephanie Moulton.

Stephanie Moulton. Photo credit: Courtesy.
Stephanie Moulton. Photo credit: Courtesy.

The lawsuit brought about by the family of a Peabody woman who was killed in 2011 was dismissed last week.

The Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the directors of North Suffolk Mental Health were not liable for damages to the family of Stephanie Moulton, who was killed by a resident of a group home in 2011, reported the Salem News.

Moulton was a caseworker at the Revere group home. She was alone with Chappell on Jan. 20, 2011, when he attacked her and killed her. Chappell dumped the Peabody woman’s behind a Lynn church.

Chappell had a history of schizophrenia and violence, but Moulton was not aware of the patient’s background because the clinic didn’t allow employees to conduct proper background checks, according to the wrongful death suit.

Deshawn Chappell was convicted of first-degree murder in the case in 2013.

Moulton’s mother, Kim Flynn, has pushed for the commonwealth to increase greater safety measures at mental health clinics.

The Salem News reported the SJC decision written by Justice Barbara Lenk: “We conclude also that the directors, as Moulton’s employer, owed no fiduciary duty to their employee, and any corrective action for an alleged breach of their fiduciary duty to North Suffolk must be sought by the Attorney General… The complaint against the director defendants accordingly must be dismissed.”

Read the full Salem News article here.

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