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Civil suit in Texas 'affluenza' case settled for more than $2 million

Justice SystemDrunk Driving
Paralyzed Texas teenager to receive special-needs trust and monthly annuities in 'affluenza' case
Settlement reached in drunk-driving case in which teen defendant blamed coddling by his rich parents

One of the victims in a fatal drunk-driving case in which a Texas teenager used an “affluenza” defense has settled a claim for more than $2 million.

The settlement is contained in court papers filed in the 96th District Court in Tarrant. It was first reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The family of Sergio Molina will receive $1.64 million for a trust to care for the 17-year-old, who was paralyzed in the crash last June. Two sets of annuities will also pay cash monthly for 25 years, as well as attorneys’ fees.

Molina was riding in the bed of a pickup when the truck slammed into a group of people helping a woman with a stalled car. Four people were killed and nine were injured.

Prosecutors said the teenage driver's blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit in Texas.

Lawyers for the driver used an “affluenza” defense at his trial last year, saying the then-16-year-old had grown up with a sense of entitlement and developed poor judgment after being coddled by his wealthy parents.

The defendant, as a minor, was sentenced to 10 years’ probation, during which time he is barred from drinking alcohol or using drugs and from driving. He was also ordered to undergo treatment at an addiction facility.

Although some media outlets have named the boy, Los Angeles Times policy is to not identify juveniles unless they are tried as adults.

The latest settlement, reached last week, is part of a complicated case. Several of the families, though not all, have settled their suits. The details of those settlements were unavailable.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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