Family of murdered foster mother settles DHR suit

Family of murdered foster mother settles DHR suit
Porsha Echols, a well-known member of the community and former Montgomery Public Schools teacher, was killed in January 2017.

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The family of a murdered Montgomery foster mother has settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the State of Alabama Department of Human Resources.

According to court documents, DHR settled with the mother of Porscha Echols in July. Following the settlement, the lawsuit was dismissed.

"The parties have reached an amicable settlement of this controversy and that this action should be dismissed in its entirety," the documents read.

According to Birmingham attorney Tommy James, who represented Echols' estate, the settlement was confidential.

"All I can say is that Porscha's mother and her attorneys are very pleased with the result," James said. "Porscha touched many lives in the community and her loss is heartbreaking. Her family is hopeful that her death and the settlement of this case will lead to positive change in the foster care system." James went on to say, "As a lawyer who handles these type of cases, it is refreshing that Governor Ivey, Attorney General Marshall, and DHR all agreed to settle this case early rather than spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars defending a case that is indefensible."

The nine-count lawsuit was filed on behalf of Echols' estate in May. Alabama DHR Commissioner Nancy Buckner, Montgomery County DHR Director Karen Smith, Montgomery County DHR Assistant Director Jan Casteel and several DHR employees were named as defendants in the suit.

The suit claimed the department failed to ensure the safety of 30-year-old Echols, which ultimately led to her murder.

Echols, a well-known member of the community and former Montgomery Public Schools teacher. She was killed in January 2017.

DHR said due to the conditions of the settlement they are unable to comment.

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