A Harrisburg woman who was a juvenile when she sustained a facial fracture after allegedly being punched in the face by a security guard at a Philadelphia residential facility for adolescents with special needs has filed a lawsuit against the facility and the employee.
Philadelphia attorneys Dean Weitzman and Robert S. Nix, of the law firm of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., filed the personal injury claim Oct. 31 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas on behalf of Shakara Holly, who was 17 at the time of the alleged incident.
The defendants listed in the complaint are Philadelphia-based Wordsworth Academy and Ahmadou Mbengue, a Philadelphia resident and Wordsworth employee.
According to the lawsuit, Holly, who was sent to live at Wordsworth as per a juvenile court adjudication and court order in April 2010, suffered severe facial injuries a mere two days after she was sent to the facility stemming from an altercation with a fellow adjudicated minor.
The altercation was witnessed by defendant Mbengue, who proceeded to intervene in an attempt to quell the fight.
Mbengue employed “extreme, harsh and improper restraint, intervention and altercation de-escalation techniques, and other improper and excessive physical force to subdue Shakara,” the lawsuit claims.
Mbengue, during the intervention into the altercation, punched Holly at least three times in the face and throat with a closed fist, the suit states. As a result, Holly had to be transported to the hospital, where it was determined that she sustained a right mandibular angle fracture and a right V3 paresthesia.
On April 6, 2010, three days after the incident, Holly had to undergo surgery to repair her injuries.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that on April 4, two days prior to the surgical procedure, Holly was in her room at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia when she received a phone call from an unknown Wordsworth employee, who attempted to persuade Holly to say that she had tripped and fallen at the facility, and that that incident was the cause of her injuries, not the alleged assault perpetrated by the defendant.
On that same day, Mbengue was arrested by Philadelphia Police and charged with aggravated assault, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person for causing severe injuries to Holly as a result of his punching and striking her in the face and throat.
“The actions and conduct of Defendants … were reckless, willful and wanton, in reckless disregard of the safety and well being of Shakara, and of a degree of culpability that shocks the conscience of any reasonable person,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit contains counts of negligence, negligent hiring, negligent training, negligent supervision, vicarious liability and respondeat superior.
Holly demands judgment in the form of compensatory damages in excess of $50,000, unspecified punitive damages, attorney’s fees and other court relief.
A jury trial has been demanded.
The case number is 111004007.