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Federal Court Approves $400,000 Wrongful Death Settlement Reached on Behalf of Janklow Abdallah Client

Sep 14, 17

Johnson Janklow Abdallah is pleased to announce that the United States District Court, District of South Dakota, has approved a $400,000 settlement reached by the firm in a wrongful death action brought on behalf of the family of fifteen-year-old Vannah Decker, who died tragically in February 2014.

Scott Abdallah was the lead attorney on the case representing the Decker family.

The case was brought against Janos Stahl and the Deerfield Hutterian Brethren, Inc., otherwise known as Deerfield Colony, alleging claims for wrongful death, negligent entrustment, and negligence in the Colony’s management and control of its fleet of motor vehicles that resulted in Vannah, a resident of a neighboring colony, being killed in an accident while a riding as a passenger in a Colony vehicle being driven by Stahl, a minor at the time.

The case had been set for trial in federal court in Aberdeen, South Dakota, when the parties announced the settlement.  U.S. District Court Judge Charles B. Kornmann approved the settlement, which provided for the payment of $400,000 to the Decker family, in an order entered on August 30, 2017.

“Although my client continues to mourn the tragic and senseless loss of his 15-year-old daughter, he is relieved that the defendants have been held accountable through the civil justice system,” said Abdallah.  “Vannah’s death was preventable.  The Decker family hopes this case will help bring needed changes so that the public is protected from unlicensed children driving on the public roadways of South Dakota.”


More information about the settlement and the case may be found at the following links:

It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.

Mike Miller | former NBA player

The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.

Mark McNeary | Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC

Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.

Tom Geu | former Dean, USD School of Law