May 17 (Westlaw Journals) - A paralyzed Chinese gymnast has added sexual abuse claims against her caretakers to her $2 billion lawsuit over Ted Turner’s allegedly broken promise to provide her with lifetime medical coverage.
Chinese gymnast Sang Lan suffered spinal cord injuries when her head hit the ground during a training exercise at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York, organized by Turner. She was permanently disabled from the chest down.
In April Lan filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Turner, AOL Time Warner Inc., USA Gymnastics, TIG Insurance Co., TIG Specialty Insurance Solutions and Riverstone Claims Management LLC. She also sued her American caretakers, K.S. Liu and K.S. Gina Hiu-Hung.
Lan amended the complaint May 13 to add the caretakers’ son, Wilson Xue, and family friend, attorney Hugh Mo, as defendants.
The amended complaint puts forth several claims, including breach of contract, violations of various civil and human rights laws, insurance law violations, conversion, battery, negligence, and sexual harassment.
Lan was 17 when she competed for the Chinese national gymnastics team at the Goodwill Games in New York. She was warming up on the vault when an unknown person moved a mat, distracting her while she was in mid-air.
As a result, she landed on her head and reportedly fractured two vertebrae, which resulted in paralysis below the chest and rendered her arms immobile, the amended complaint says.
After the accident, Ted Turner promised to provide her with lifetime living expenses and medical care, Lan alleges.
According to the complaint, USA Gymnastics purchased a $10 million catastrophic medical policy from TIG Insurance to cover Lan’s lifetime medical expenses. However, the insurer denied coverage because she does not live in the United States.
Lan also alleges that her American guardians, Liu and Hiu-Hung, neglected and abused her, and profited from her misfortune.
She says they unlawfully assumed guardianship of her and embezzled money from a charitable fund that solicited donations for her care. Lan also says Liu and Hiu-Hung made hundreds of millions of dollars from Chinese business transactions stemming from their association with her.
The amended complaint adds claims that Liu and his stepson, Wilson Xue, sexually abused Lan. They unnecessarily bathed her nude and touched her inappropriately, according to a report she says she filed with the Westchester County, N.Y., district attorney’s office.
The suit further alleges that Mo, a family friend of Liu and Hiu-Hung, served as Lan’s attorney. He allegedly gave her false legal advice concerning her injuries and worked in concert with Liu and Hiu-Hang to prevent her from pursuing litigation over her injuries.
Lan is impoverished and has deteriorated physically and mentally as a result of the defendants’ abuse and the collective failure to cover her expenses, the complaint says.
She is seeking nearly $2 billion in damages as well as injunctive relief, interest, and attorney fees and costs.
Plaintiff: Ming Hai, Flushing, N.Y.
Lan v. AOL Time Warner Inc. et al., No. 1:11-CV-02870, amended complaint filed (S.D.N.Y. May 13, 2011).
(Reporting by Brett L. Goncher, Westlaw Journal Insurance Coverage)