CLAYTON, Mo. (CN) – The mother of a mentally retarded man who died while under the State of Missouri’s care agreed to a $345,000 out of court settlement with the state. Michael Pallme was 24 when he died in November 2005 from a bowel obstruction caused swallowing a pen.
Pallme suffered from pica, an uncontrollable urge to swallow anything available. Pallme’s mother, Mary, claimed employees at the Northwest Habilitation Center failed to stop him from swallowing the pen.
Attorney General Jay Nixon agreed to the settlement on behalf of the state-run center’s employees, in documents filed in St. Louis County Court.
According to the settlement, Mary Pallme will get $215,380; a total of $20,619 will go toward the costs of the lawsuit and the Hullverson Law Firm will get $118,000. There was no admission of wrongdoing by any of the center’s employees.
Pallme’s death was one of two in 6 months at the center. Another resident, Rutherford “Rudy” Wallace died after being scalded with hot water.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that there were 2,287 confirmed cases of abuse and neglect of mentally disabled Missourians living in state-run centers over 6 years. Of those cases, 323 resulted in injuries and 21 in deaths.