Carl DeBrodie's death investigation taking longer than civil lawyers expected

Attorney Rudy Veit said Tuesday his legal team was under the impression federal and state officials would be finished with Carl DeBrodie's death investigation sooner. He said he's been assured investigators are doing thorough work. (Ashley Zavala, KRCG).

Lawyers representing the mother of a developmentally disabled man who died while in the care of an independent living facility said Tuesday the death investigation has taken longer than anticipated.

Rudy Veit, who originally filed the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Carl DeBrodie's biological mother, said federal and state investigators have not given him a timeline on when the investigation will be over. Veit said it could be a while.

Investigators found DeBrodie's body encased in concrete at a storage facility in Fulton in April of 2017. Criminal charges have yet to be filed in his death.

"We filed these lawsuits in November knowing it would take time to get service and we were under the belief that the federal agencies and state agencies would have their investigation wrapped up or very near it," Veit said. "We then would have all their data to proceed and it would be a much smoother transition. Unfortunately that's not happening. Their investigation is taking longer than they thought but they assured me they want to do a very thorough job."

Veit said he had spoken with federal investigators Tuesday. He said investigators from all over the country have been looking into DeBrodie's death. Veit said his legal team will now begin their own discovery process to obtain evidence.

Several Callaway County divisions and divisions of the Missouri Department of Mental Health responded to the lawsuit Friday. Some parties requested the judge dismiss the case, while others requested the plaintiffs make the complaint more certain and definite.The majority of the defendants said the current lawsuit does not show facts to prove who was involved in DeBrodie's death.

On behalf of the Missouri Department of Mental Health divisions, assistant attorney general Michael Pritchett wrote the state agency isn't liable because Second Chance Homes of Fulton is a private, limited liability company. The state inspects and certifies facilities like Second Chance, but the facility is not considered public property. Pritchett wrote it was not the State's duty to have face-to-face visits with DeBrodie, and that at most, the agency would've managed the personnel providing that care through the chain of command.

Lawyers on behalf of Callaway County suggested that no matter how well DeBrodie could've been cared for, it would not have kept him from being found dead, cemented in concrete.

"From what I'm starting to gather, his care was not up to par for a substantial period of time, and if they were aware of that, and could've done something, he would've never ended up in a box," Veit said. "His treatment was less than human for a period of time."

"We want to find out those individuals who actually did things wrong and then those individuals in a supervisor role, if they knew it, and if they were following their own policies and procedures and it's going to take a while to find that all out," Veit said.

Another obstacle for the civil suit, Veit said, is its recent transfer from state to federal court.

"This lawsuit was filed in state court, it met the state courts pleadings," Veit said. "There are some more specific rulings in the federal court and we may have to seek leave of court to make our petition more definite and certain." said Veit. "We certainly want to find out what supervisors knew what and didn't do what, or was it just their employees that were the ones responsible," Veit said. "There's different standards in state and federal court to hold supervisors responsible," Veit said.

Second Chance Homes of Fulton is required to respond to the lawsuit by April 6.

"I don't expect to see any great admissions in their answer, but that is pretty standard," Veit said.

Veit said the latest obstacles in the case are frustrating for DeBrodie's family.

"But, from a lawyer's standpoint, we're used to fighting these little tedious battles, and that means staying with it and keep on punching," Veit said.

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