Jury Awards $3.7M in sex suit

A Kalamazoo County Circuit Court jury awarded almost $3.7 million in damages to a woman who claimed she was sexually abused by an area businessman.

The five-man, three-women jury unanimously decided that Jessica Liebendorfer, 23, should be awarded $990,000 in damages for past pain and suffering of sexual assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress by local restaurateur Michael Albanese. An additional 2.7 million was awarded for future damages.

Court observers said they believe it is the second-highest judgment ever rendered in a personal-injury case in Kalamazoo County.

~Published on the front page of the Kalamazoo Gazette on January 18, 2008

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