LANCASTER — The father of a mentally disabled man who was beaten to death at a Garrard County group home has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the home’s operator and the employee who has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in his death.
Anthony Akridge, father of Shaun Akridge, filed the complaint against Community Ties of America and Tyler Brock last week in Garrard Circuit Court. It seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages from the defendants, alleging they were negligent and failed to provide proper care for Shaun Akridge, who was beaten and kicked to death in June 2011 while a resident at a group home in Paint Lick.
Brock, 22, of Corbin, pleaded guilty earlier this month to second-degree manslaughter and knowingly abusing Akridge in exchange for a recommended prison sentence of 20 years. He is scheduled to be formally sentenced July 20 by Garrard Circuit Judge Hunter Daugherty and will have to serve only four years of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
According to the lawsuit, Shaun Akridge, 35, was a ward of the state. He suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome and other debilitating conditions that left him unable to care for himself. After spending time at the state-operated Oakwood facility in Somerset, Akridge was transferred to the Paint Lick home operated by the for-profit Community Ties, headquartered in Brentwood, Tenn.
Community Ties “held itself out as a specialist in the field of developmentally disabled group home care, with expertise necessary to maintain the health and safety of persons unable to adequately care for themselves,” the lawsuit states. “The defendants failed, refused or neglected to perform their duties to provide reasonable and adequate care” for Akridge, leading to his death.
The company knew or should have known that Brock, who was a student at Eastern Kentucky University, was “unfit” for the job and placing him in the position of caregiver “created an unreasonable risk of harm to residents” of Community Ties’ group homes, the complaint alleges.
Neither Community Ties nor Brock has yet responded to allegations contained in the lawsuit. Community Ties ceased operating group homes in Kentucky shortly after Akridge’s death.
Anthony Akridge lives in Lebanon Junction in Bullitt County and was named executor of his son’s estate. The lawsuit was filed by Louisville attorneys Kenneth Sales, David Bryant and James Nicholson.