The plaintiff’s mother, Kimberly Gray, was shot and killed by her partner Howard Terflinger in their shared Stuart home Nov. 6, 2016. Terflinger, who had been with Gray for approximately three years, turned the gun on himself shortly afterward.
Gray’s death was an immeasurable loss for Amber Holm, whose three children would never get to see their grandmother again. But nearly three years onward from the death, Palm Beach Gardens attorney Jeff Vastola persuaded a jury to return a $20 million verdict against Terflinger’s estate following a one-day trial in Martin County Circuit Court. As shown on the July 15 verdict form, the jury opted to enter $15 million in punitive damages, $550,000 for Gray’s lost earnings and a total of $4,450,000 for the expenses the plaintiff had to incur in response to the tragedy and the loss of her mother’s companionship.
“We asked the jury to send this message to say, ‘If you’re contemplating a violent act, think twice because your assets may be at risk,’” Vastola said. “They heeded the call and came back with a $20 million verdict.”