Tort Law

Former White House lawyer ordered to pay $28.6M in beating of wife

Connecticut jurors deliberated for only 90 minutes on Tuesday before finding former White House lawyer John Michael Farren liable for $28.6 million in the severe beating of his wife.

Farren’s wife, Mary Margaret Farren, had testified her husband attacked her in their master bedroom two days after she served him with divorce papers in January 2010, report ABC News and the Stamford Advocate. She said he grabbed her neck, threw her to the floor, and beat her with his fists and then a heavy flashlight. She passed out, but when she came to her husband was not in the bedroom. She gathered her two children and drove to a neighbor’s house, where she collapsed.

Mary Farren had worked as a lawyer at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, but she is unable to work there because of brain injury and emotional trauma from the attack, according to testimony by vocational rehabilitation counselor Albert Sabella. He said Mary Farren can’t concentrate or analyze information and suffers from panic attacks, according to the account by the Stamford Advocate.

John Farren, who had been representing himself, was present during jury selection but he was a no-show for the trial. He said in an email to the courthouse that he was hospitalized and could not make the trial. The judge granted a default judgment and the case then moved to the damages phase. The criminal case against John Farren, a former deputy White House counsel, is still pending.

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