Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

haunted house.jpgThe St. Louis haunted house “The Darkness,” located in Soulard, is being sued for wrongful death stemming from the November 2010 death of a local teen, Brittney Holmes. The actual entity named as a defendant is Halloween Productions, Inc., which ran the haunted house.

Holmes visited the haunted house in October 2009, and felt sick on her ride home. She spent almost a year in a vegetative state, before dying in November 2010. Her medical bills totaled around $1 million. Holmes had suffered from many allergies and asthma. The haunted house piped in artificial smells and fog in order to enhance the haunted house experience. These air particulates are alleged to have caused Holmes’s death. Halloween Productions, Inc. alleges that it posted signs warning customers who had respiratory problems not to enter the house.

MOMap-doton-Rolla.pngA Rolla, Missouri woman was awarded $150,000 from a jury for her husband’s wrongful death stemming from an auto accident. Majdi Najm was driving with his wife, Shahla Keyvan, when they were struck by a pick up truck driven by a 17 year old. Najm died instantly. The driver of the truck who struck their car was charged with failure to yield, and fined $150 in municipal court.

Both the driver and her father were named as defendants in the law suit. The father was named, because he allegedly allowed his daughter to drive to school with messages painted on her windows, which obstructed her view. However, the jury found in favor of the father, but against the daughter.

Missouri allows for a spouse to bring a wrongful death action under RSMo. 537.080.

The daughters of a St. Charles man who was struck and killed by an automobile when he stopped to help another driver who had been in a car accident were awarded $150,000 in a settlement with Cincinnati Insurance Company.

Three years earlier, the daughters had settled with the insurance company for $450,000 based on underinsured motorist coverage, for the negligence of the driver who actually hit and killed Lee Widaman. This July 2010 trial was based on uninsured motorist coverage, based on the negligence of the driver who Widaman stopped to help. However, the parties settled this case before trial was complete.

The plaintiffs claimed that the driver who Widaman stopped to help was liable under the “rescue doctrine.” In Missouri, the rescue doctrine allows an injured party to recover from the person they attempted to rescue if that person’s negligence put him in the position where he needed rescuing. Gray v. Russell, 853 S.W.2d 928 (Mo. 1993).

medical records.jpgThe Missouri Supreme Court addressed the disclosure of medical records of a defendant in a Missouri wrongful death case stemming out of an automobile accident. In State ex rel. Stinson v. The Honorable Ted House, No. SC90364, the Defendant sought a writ of prohibition preventing the trial court from compelling him to execute an authorization releasing his medical records.

In this case, the Defendant allegedly was driving under the influence of either drugs or alcohol, and the plaintiff alleged that he had a history of drug and/or alcohol use and a history of medical treatment for the same. The decedent’s daughter, the plaintiff, sought his medical records pertaining to any substance abuse treatment he may have had.
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Thumbnail image for execution.jpgThe former Mayor of St. Louis, Freeman Bosley, Jr., recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming the City of St. Louis, the Police Board, and the Office of the Circuit Attorney negligently caused the death of Larry Griffin, who was executed in 1995 after being convicted of murder in 1981. Bosley filed the suit on behalf of Mae Etta Griffin, Larry Griffin’s Mother. The suit alleges the defendants’ negligence in conducting the murder investigation ultimately led to Griffin’s wrongful conviction and execution.

sewer line.jpgA Ralls County, Missouri judge awarded the family of a man killed while working on a trench $6.27 million in the Missouri wrongful death case. Timothy Epperson worked for the City of Perry, Missouri, when he was working to clear a obstructed sewer line. The trench collapsed, and Epperson broke his neck and suffocated. He had a wife and 3 sons.

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed against the city’s superintendent, Donald Lee Huff. The family of Epperson also has a Missouri workers’ compensation claim pending against the City of Perry.
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stethoscope.jpgA Kansas City, Missouri family settled their Missouri medical malpractice and wrongful death suit against Urgent Care of Kansas City and Drs. Robert Frank and Jan Johnson shortly before trial was set to begin.

Andrew Endicott had visited Urgent Care of Kansas City several times for shortness of breath, leg swelling, and other symptoms during 2006. He died September 24, 2006 of deep vein thrombosis. Andrew’s parents alleged that the doctors sent him away without conducting the proper tests or giving him the proper diagnosis, which ultimately resulted in his death. The doctors denied the allegations, stating that Andrew had a pre-existing medical condition and his death was unavoidable.
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firefighter.jpgA St. Louis federal judge awarded the mother of 3 children who died in a 2009 fire the majority of a $45,000 settlement yesterday. Candice Bishop, the mother of the 3 children killed in the fire, was awarded $35,000, while the father was awarded $10,000. The federal lawsuit was against the company who owned the apartment complex where the fire occurred.

The mother had argued that the father was not entitled to any of the money, because he is to blame for the deaths of her children. Bishop has another Missouri wrongful death case pending in St. Louis County Circuit Court against the father and the children’s grandmother, because she alleges that they disconnected a smoke alarm that would have saved her children’s lives. She also alleges they started the fire and did not get the children out in time. Both the children’s father and grandmother suffered burns in the fire.
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Thumbnail image for car accident on interstate.jpgThe Missouri Court of Appeals has ruled that a wrongful death verdict entered in a Missouri court arising from an automobile accident occurring in Kansas should be reduced in accordance with Kansas law. The verdict, originally totaling $1,200,000, was entered in Jackson County, Missouri, in favor of the family of Ruth Baxter, who was killed in a car accident on Interstate 35 outside of Ottawa, Kansas. Under Missouri law, the entire verdict would stand, as Missouri law does not place a cap on non-economic damages in automobile accident cases. However, under Kansas law, which the Court held governed, non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 in such cases. Hence, because the verdict reflected non-economic damages in excess of $250,000, the verdict was reduced to $500,000.

air duster.jpgThe Missouri family of a deceased teenager were awarded $325,000 in a Missouri wrongful death case that stemmed from a car accident on June 22, 2007 in Carthage, Missouri.

The family of McKenzie Kisling, 14, of Carthage, brought a wrongful death suit against Chelsea Huffman, 16, also of Carthage, who was the driver of the car. McKenzie and Kayla Story, 16, were killed in a car accident allegedly caused by Huffman, the driver. The jury found that Huffman had difluoroethane in her blood at the time she was driving the car. Difluoroethane is a subsance found in spray paint cans and “canned air” which is often used to clean computer keyboards. People often “huff” the substance in an attempt to get high. The Missouri State Highway Patrol found through its investigation that the girls had gotten the canned air merely 10 minutes before the accident.
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