A Houston jury awarded Barbra Piotrowski $22.3 million in her lawsuit against the city that alleges failure to prevent a plot to kill her. The Houston Police Department had received a tip that Piotrowski’s former lover Richard Minns was looking to hire someone to murder her and did nothing to warn her. Piotrowski was left paralyzed from the waist down from the failed assassination attempt. Minns was never charged in the case and now lives abroad.
Piotrowski’s attorneys, Steve Sumner and Marilyn Lahr of Dallas, say [the city attorney’s] office made exactly one settlement offer — for $5,000. Seeing as their suit was asking for $50 million, the lawyers were unimpressed. “We offered to settle early for $12.5 million, and that was our first offer — we would have come down from that,” Sumner says.
“They sent us a letter saying they had paid out less all last year in settlements than the $12.5 million,” Lahr says. “But you have to wonder how many of those settlements involved a woman in a wheelchair.”