A Montgomery County jury has awarded $124 million in a civil case against Rafael Robb, the former University of Pennsylvania economics professor who pleaded guilty to one count of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his estranged wife.
The jury awarded the compensatory and punitive damages to the estate of his wife, Ellen Gregory Robb. Judge Thomas M. Del Ricci presided at the three-day trial.
Attorneys for the estate and its administrator, Ellen Gregory Robb’s brother, Gary Gregory, said the award is the largest contested verdict for any personal injury in Pennsylvania history.
Olivia Robb is finally free from the haunting, controlling terror of her murderous father. The jury’s verdict honored the memory of a caring, loving mother and at the same time sent a thunderous message to Rafael Robb, that he can no longer get away with his pathological lies, and that he will not be able to enjoy a life of luxury after his release in a few years.
Robert J. Mongeluzzi of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, who represented the plaintiff
Rafael Robb’s daughter, Olivia Robb, testified against him at trial. She was 12 years old at the time of her mother’s death in December 2006.
“Olivia’s testimony was a profile in extraordinary courage,” said Andrew R. Duffy, who represented the plaintiff with Mongeluzzi. “Today’s verdict is momentous for Ellen Gregory Robb’s family and for all those who fight so hard in support of victims of domestic violence and abuse.”
Rafael Robb is currently serving a sentence of five to 10 years after pleading guilty in November 2007 to one count of voluntary manslaughter.
Ellen Gregory Robb had been planning to divorce Rafael Robb in the months before her death, attorneys for her estate wrote in a pretrial document, and was planning to move out of their home as early as January 2007.
According to that document, Rafael Robb called the police Dec. 22, 2006, telling them he had found his wife murdered. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Rafael Robb was later arrested in connection with the crime.
Eric D. Levin, attorney for Robb, did not immediately return calls for comment late Wednesday.