SPARTANBURG, S.C.—Bannister, Wyatt & Stalvey, LLC’s managing partner, Alex Stalvey, representing Plaintiff Kala Brown, is seeking $360,000,000 in punitive damages and $3,631,203.20 in actual and compensatory damages in a civil suit against convicted serial killer and rapist Todd Kohlhepp. Brown filed suit against Kohlhepp for false imprisonment, demanding compensation from the resulting damages. The hearing occurred on Wednesday, July 11 at the Spartanburg County Courthouse.
“No amount of money will ever compensate Kala for what Todd Kohlhepp did to her,” Mr. Stalvey said. “This payment will act as a form of closure for her, so that she may continue the long road of putting this terrifying chapter of her life behind her and move forward in recovery. This victim deserves this victory.”
Brown’s legal team requested actual and compensatory damages for past and future medical costs, pain and suffering, mental anguish and loss of enjoyment of life totaling $3,631,203.20. These damages are intended to compensate the plaintiff for the wrongdoing of the defendant.
The judge must also decide an amount to award for punitive damages. Punitive damages serve at least three important purposes: punishment of the defendant’s reckless, willful, wanton or malicious conduct; deterrence of similar future conduct by the defendant or others; and compensation for the reckless or willful invasion of the plaintiff’s private rights.
The paramount purpose for awarding punitive damages is not to compensate the plaintiff, but to punish and set an example for others. The punitive damages award Brown’s legal team requested was $360,000,000.
The judge took the plaintiff’s request under advisement and will issue an order with the amount of damages he will award after considering the testimony the plaintiff’s legal team presented at the hearing. Judge Kelly could award the entire amount requested or another amount that he feels is reasonable. Should he award Brown damages, the money will come from Kohlhepp’s liquidated assets.
Officials were investigating cell phone signals from Brown’s phone when she was discovered chained in a storage container on Kohlhepp’s property in 2016. She had been taken hostage by Kohlhepp when she and her then boyfriend, Charlie Carver, had arrived at Kohlhepp’s home to assist in cleaning. Kohlhepp was a real estate broker in the Spartanburg area and had previously hired Brown and Carver to clean the properties he sold.
Kohlhepp shot Carver in front of Brown and then imprisoned her for over two months while he repeatedly raped, hit and threatened her, causing her to suffer severe injuries, emotional distress and psychological damage.
Investigators found Meagan and Johnny Coxie’s bodies on Kohlhepp’s property as well. The Coxies were a Spartanburg couple who disappeared in December 2015. Kohlhepp also confessed to the quadruple homicide at Superbike Motorsports in Chesnee, S.C. In 1987, he pleaded guilty, served fourteen years in prison and is now a registered sex offender for kidnapping and raping a fourteen-year-old girl at gunpoint in Tempe, Arizona.
In his 2017 criminal trial, Kohlhepp pleaded guilty to seven counts of murder, two counts of kidnapping and one count of criminal sexual assault and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole in a plea bargain that spared Kohlhepp from capital punishment.
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