[Updated With USA Swimming Response] Judge Orders $2.5 Million Claim in Favor of Plaintiff in Sexual Abuse Case

Braden Keith
by Braden Keith 29

September 25th, 2012 National, News

Update: USA Swimming has responded to the below press release, specifically to make note of three points that they see as inaccurate.

  • Through spokesperson Jamie Fabos Olsen, the organization said that “In regards to the Brooke Tafflinger v. Brian Hindson case, the 7th circuit court dismissed all claims against USA Swimming in May of this year.” (read more on that subject here). USA Swimming also stated that “The case out of Kansas City, MO and subsequent award was between Johnson County Parks and Recreation, Pete Malone and Plaintiff against Lexington Insurance Company.  USA Swimming and the local club were released. All monetary damages awarded plaintiff are only against Lexington Insurance.”
  • “Taflinger’s attorney obtained a $2.5M judgment against Brian Hindson and Central Indiana Aquatics which he owned.” (see the second sentence of the press release, which states the same).
  • “Buddy Pylitt did not represent or advise Central Indiana Aquatics in this case. Pylitt did represent USA Swimming.” (The meeting minutes from the Indiana Board of Directors Meeting can be seen here, which state that Pylitt met with the team’s membership at an open team meeting and answered questions “about the legal process”. When asked about a clarification on those minutes, Fabos Olsen said that “Pylitt’s only engagement was to attend a parent meeting about the prosecution of Hindson with Tony Young.” Whether or not that involved advising Central Indiana Swimming on their legal liabilities, per se, was not addressed in her response).

The following is a press release from Jonathan Little, posted unedited.

For official court documents, see the following PDF’s:
Final Judgement.
Unrelated case from Kansas City referenced below – Final Judgement & Order Granting Attorneys’ fees.

A Federal Court ruling (Case 1:09-cv-00771-TWP-DML, US District Court, South District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division) in Indiana has placed USA Swimming in the position of having to pay more than $2.5 million in the Brooke Taflinger case or risk having to pay much more in accrued interest and sanctions.

Federal Judge Tanya Walton Pratt signed a default judgment for Indianapolis attorney Jonathan Little and his client Brooke Taflinger against Central Indiana Aquatics and its former Coach Brian Hindson for the amount of $2,537,000.

“Basically USA Swimming and its insurance carrier walked away from their obligation as swim club insurers and provided no legal defense for the club,” said Jonathan Little. “The same strategy backfired for USA Swimming in Kansas City last year (Case 0516-CV-23636, Jackson County Circuit Court, Kansas City, Missouri) when they walked away from former Coach Pete Malone’s club in the molestation case of Craig Ivancic. That decision cost USA Swimming more than $12.5 million in December of last year,” added Little.

According to the 2011 Kansas City court ruling, the Judge found that USA Swimming refused to pay a 2005 judgment against the Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD) Blazers and Malone without just cause or excuse. Lexington, USA Swimming’s insurance carrier, according to the decision argued that swim clubs are not insured for any acts arising out of or as a result of Sexual Misconduct. A two day trial in 2007 resulted in the court entering a judgment against JCPRD and Malone for $5,040,000 plus interest and costs.

As a result of not paying the judgment, garnishment proceedings in December of 2011 resulted in the original $5,040,000 award climbing to more than $12.5 million with the additional awarding of interest, expenses and legal fees.

Part of the reason, according to the decision, was that USA Swimming’s insurance carrier, Lexington, repeatedly misstated the terms of its policies to the Court including the sexual misconduct exclusion. Lexington, the decision states, also lied to the Court in claiming that its hours defending the case were less than what the plaintiff’s law firm expended in bringing the case.

“The Kansas City case shows that USA Swimming will throw member clubs under the bus in an effort to dodge liability for molestation claims,” said Little. “It also shows that they have no concern for molestation victims and will do anything legally to avoid taking care of these victims,” added Little.

In the case against Central Indiana Swimming, the Board of Directors Meeting minutes of April 21, 2008 report that legal counsel Buddy Pylitt, retained by USA Swimming, advised Central Indiana on their legal liabilities with the club members then voting to form a new club, VIPER Swim Club. “The formation of the VIPER Swim Club was another attempt by Indiana Swimming and USA Swimming to abdicate its responsibilities to those harmed by USA Swimming coaches,” said Little.

Brooke Taflinger learned in 2008 that her former swimming coach Brian Hindson had secretly videotaped her as she changed clothes in a locker room. Hindson eventually pleaded guilty to 16 counts relating to the production, distribution, and possession of child pornography—none relating to the footage of Taflinger. Hindson is now serving 400 months in federal prison.

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2.5 million in Indiana???
12.5 million in Kansas City???

This is the crap that your USA Swimming dues are being used for. All in the interest of protecting the board and executives at USA Swimming!

Joel Lin

Is there a chance USA Swimming could file for bankruptcy?

Joel Lin

$4.6 million in legal fees? God almighty, this hardly seems to be about compensating victims and moreso ensuring that professional plaintiffs get their “hedges” covered by putting to the court these huge compensatory amounts for the lawyers to be paid. Through a forked tongue only is this a victory for victims…the most highest compensated “victims” in these lawsuits appear to be the sleazy plaintiffs counsels putting in their bar bill at the end as a reimbursable. I doubt the collection is anything less than pro rata to the the judgment amount meaning very clearly that the victims collect cents while the attorneys get fill dollars first. I think it is also time to show Mr. Allard – a.k.a. – “Splash… Read more »

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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