Attorney Breen Secures Settlement for Stabbing Victim’s Family
Last month, Howry Breen & Herman Attorney Sean Breen helped a Graham, TX family attain a sense of closure for the first time since their son’s murder two years ago.
Harrison Brown was a 19-year-old student at the University of Texas at Austin when he and three other students were attacked by a fifth student, Kendrix White. Harrison did not survive the stabbing, and, two months later, a grand jury indicted White on three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of first-degree murder. However, the criminal case in December of 2018 found him not guilty by reason of insanity.
According to experts, White’s symptoms included severe hallucinations and delusions, including the belief that he was Jesus Christ, and another in which he was buried alive. Because his mental illness had no cure, he was sent to the North Texas State Hospital, a maximum-security mental health facility.
Five months after the verdict, Attorney Breen represented Harrison’s mother in a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Kendrix White, his parents, and the medical caregivers who worked with him before the incident. While White was not found guilty because of his mental illness, the lawsuit argued, his parents and doctors were still responsible for the attack, because they knew about White's symptoms and should have taken “reasonable actions to prevent [White] from harming others.”
Although Texas state law prohibited holding medical caregivers responsible in this type of case, Breen helped Harrison’s family secure a settlement outside of court, effectively avoiding a trial and keeping the settlement’s details (including the amount of compensation) confidential.
“I pray that White continues to receive care and that he just needs to be in a place where he can never harm anybody in society ever again,” Harrison’s mother said to KXAN, a Texas news station, on Tuesday. According to Attorney Breen, she was not concerned about the amount of the settlement. Instead, she wanted to ensure White’s family was held responsible for Harrison’s death, raise awareness of mental health, and expose the weaknesses in the mental healthcare system in Texas.
“When the criminal case went the route it did with Mr. White and being found ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’, Harrison’s family really wanted to feel a sense of justice that they hadn’t felt from that criminal case,” Breen explained. “Given the importance of the case, given the importance of Harrison to his mother, it was the least we could do to help the family get some measure of justice. And we feel really, really good that we’ve been able to do that recently.”
Harrison’s mother said she will now focus on creating positive changes by advocating for safety changes on the UT campus, becoming involved in the Stop the Bleed campaign, and changing legislation.
At Howry Breen & Herman, our attorneys have worked since 1995 to secure the best possible results for clients throughout Texas. We are not afraid of fighting for justice and necessary change in sensitive, complex cases. If you need a skilled and compassionate legal team on your side, call (512) 430-4844 today to schedule your free initial consultation.