WORCESTER, Mass. — A former exotic dancer seriously injured in a 2010 car crash with an off-duty Massachusetts police officer has been paid about $8.6 million by the insurance company for the strip club, according to court records.
Kailee Higgins was paid by Capitol Specialty Insurance, her attorneys wrote in an Aug. 19 filing in U.S. District Court in Worcester, The Telegram & Gazette reported Tuesday.
The payment comes 17 months after a federal judge ruled following a trial that the insurance company broke the law by shoddily investigating the crash and denying Higgins compensation for years.
The First Circuit Court of Appeal in Boston in March upheld a jury’s award of $5.4 million to Higgins. According to court records, she texted a friend before the end of her Saturday night shift that she was “maadd drunk” after downing 15 shots of tequila, but a bouncer escorted her to her car, physically put her into the driver’s seat and handed over her car keys.
When the owner of Centerfolds learned about the crash, he obtained statements from the bartender on duty that night, the manager and a floor host who said no one had served alcohol to Higgins and no one had seen her drinking. The owner also said the club keeps a list of dancers who are under the legal drinking age of 21 to make sure they are not served alcohol.
Capitol’s claims administrator, Norfield Associates, reported that there was no indication that any of the dancers at the club had been drinking. Capitol closed the file.
The crash occurred in Worcester on Nov. 28, 2010. Higgins, who required more than 10 facial surgeries and was left with a diminished mental capacity, had a blood alcohol level of .15, according to records.
Higgins, 20 at the time, sued, alleging the Centerfolds club in Worcester served her as many as 15 shots that night and was liable for serving her and then letting her drive drunk.
The judge found that Capitol and its senior claims manager conducted a superficial investigation into the crash.
An email from the newspaper to lawyers representing Capitol went unanswered.
The off-duty officer was not charged.
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