Victim in New Canaan beating could lose $9 million, expert testifies in court
Published 1:04 am, Thursday, April 8, 2010
STAMFORD -- The wife of a former White House attorney stands to lose more than $9 million if she can't return to work as a high-powered attorney because of injuries she suffered when her husband allegedly beat her repeatedly at their New Canaan home with a flashlight this February, a expert witness testified.
The witness, Steven Shapiro, a finance professor at the New York Institute of Technology, testified last Thursday in state Superior Court in the civil lawsuit between Mary Farren and her husband, John Michael Farren, the 57-year-old former White House attorney who faces criminal charges of trying to kill his wife over a pending divorce. After his Jan. 6 arrest, his wife filed a civil lawsuit seeking up to $15 million in damages.
Shapiro took the stand in final day of probable cause hearing on a preliminary motion seeking to freeze up to $15 million of assets belonging to John Michael Farren. A judge has 120 days to decide how much assets to freeze to secure the money if the case goes to trial and Mary Farren is awarded damages.
Before Shaprio introduced the figures, his testimony was subject to a lengthy objection by Tim Moynahan, John Michael Farren's attorney. Moynahan argued there wasn't enough evidence to conclude his client's wife could not return to work.
"Right now, she has made remarkable progress," Moynahan said, adding that Mary Farren, who sat in the back of the courtroom and testified in the civil case last week, lacked visible traces of the injuries she suffered in January.
Mary Farren's attorney, Wayne Effron, argued he only had to establish probable cause that his client could not return to work. He said medical reports submitted as evidence show Mary Farren's thought process was affected after the attack.
Judge Barbara Brazzel-Massaro overruled Moynahan's objection and allowed Shapiro's testimony.
Using state data, median incomes for lawyers and life expectancy calculations, Shapiro testified that Mary Farren would lose $9.1 million in income over the course of her life.
Shaprio testified that if Mary Farren returned to work by in a less-rigorous profession, she would lose about $3 million less than she would if she could return to work as an attorney who specialized in complex litigation involving utility companies and energy regulation.
Moynahan cross-examined Shaprio, questioning his methods and calculations. He asked whether Shapiro accounted for income from job opportunities that may await Mary Farren upon her recovery, since she is a highly intelligent expert in a growing field -- the energy sector.
John Michael Farren served as undersecretary of commerce for international trade under President George H.W. Bush and in the White House counsel's office under President George W. Bush. He was a deputy counsel for the younger Bush from 2007 until the president left office.
John Michael Farren is due back in court April 14 for a hearing in his criminal case.