Where there is death without justice, freedom cannot reign. In America, wrongful death lawsuits are the primary means for families of victims to combat those who commit evil, intentionally or otherwise.
Wrongful Death suits are brought up in civil court, usually by the family of the deceased, who may have been lost due to murder, employer negligence, or corporate misconduct.
Wrongful death is a practice area in personal injury law, and these are the top 10 wrongful death lawsuits of all time.
The family of a Milton, MA woman who was killed in a drunk driving accident reached a settlement in a wrongful death suit. The 19 year old had been at a 2008 concert at Gillette Stadium. The woman had been tailgating with some friends, all of whom were underage. Although there was supposedly a “no ticket, no entry’’ policy to deter underage drinkers from tailgating, it was not enforced, the suit claimed. A settlement was reached just moments before trial was set to begin. The family of the young woman who was killed settled with Kraft Group, who own Gillette Stadium.
The family of a 19-year-old woman named Adriana Rhime who was killed by electrocution in a faulty fountain on the campus of a South Georgia Technical College reached a $1.4 million settlement with the state in a wrongful-death lawsuit against the state of Georgia. Rhime’s son was with her that day, the ball he was playing with bounced into the fountain, Rhime stopped him from running after it and was electrocuted due to faulty wiring as she attempted to retrieve it herself.
The lawyer representing the family of Jordan Davis says he reached an out-of-court settlement in the teen’s wrongful death lawsuit. Michael Dunn is facing murder charges for firing a gun at an SUV at a gas station on the southside of Jacksonville. Police say the shooting followed an argument over loud music. Jordan Davis, 17, was killed.
7. Wichita Dentist
Twenty year old Kelsey Heston never recovered from the extreme sedation she was put under by her dentist, named Dr. Jones. She was discovered by family in her bed, not breathing, after a routine dental procedure. Emergency personnel were unable to resuscitate her. It was later found that the dentist never documented the patient’s medical history, ignored her pleas for help on the operating table, and lied to her parents about what had occurred throughout her procedure. The terms of the financial settlement in the suit filed by Kelsey’s parents does not allow for the dollar amount to be disclosed.
Wrongful death compensation ordered 28 years after the death of Debra Davis. Judge Patrick Brady ordered both famed Boston gangster Whitey Bulger and his cohort Stephen Flemmi to pay $15 million each in damages to the Davis family for the death of Debra Davis, who was 26 years old when she was strangled to death. Davis was Stephen Flemmi’s step daughter, who he raised from the age of two. Later, they would engage in a sexual relationship that Bulger feared would become public. Flemmi took her on a shopping trip and then delivered her to Bulger who choked her to death using a length of rope tied to a stick which he twisted behind her head until she was dead. Flemmi then attempted to pull her teeth out using a pliers so she could not be identified.
Toyota reached a $1.2 billion settlement with the United States government to end a U.S. criminal probe charging that Toyota willfully misled the public about sudden unexpected acceleration that led to the recall of more than 10 million vehicles. The U.S. Justice Department announced the settlement in March 2014, ending four years of investigation into the matter. This is the largest monetary penalty charged to a car company by the U.S. government ever. Attorney General Eric Holder has repeatedly called Toyota’s actions shameful.
In Atlanta, a federal jury awarded more than $2.3 million to the family of a Toccoa pastor shot and killed by a sheriff’s deputy. Jonathan Ayers, 28, was shot Sept. 1, 2009, in the parking lot of a Toccoa convenience store after inadvertently stepping into an undercover drug investigation. Ayers was the minister at Shoal Creek Baptist Church in Lavonia at the time of his death. He walked into the middle of a federal drug sting which was in progress and was shot down by a Sheriff’s Deputy. A Grand Jury had previously found the shooting justified, and it was not until the victim’s widow, Abigail Ayers, filed a wrongful death suit in civil court that she was provided for with restitution for medical expenses, funeral costs, and emotional trauma.
A 13 year old girl won $150 million in a wrongful death verdict. The girl’s family perished in a fiery SUV crash with a big rig truck after it caught fire while trapped beneath the larger vehicle. The driver, Rudolph Ortiz, and his employer, Watsonville-based Bhandal Bros. Trucking Inc. are found jointly liable in what could be one of the largest verdicts of its kind. The girl actually witnessed the death of her family members after she narrowly escaped the trapped vehicle with her younger brother.
A jury found OJ Simpson liable in the wrongful death civil suit brought forth by the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman, the victims of murders for which Simpson was found not guilty. Simpson was ordered to pay $25 million in punitive damages to the victims’ families.
Family and United Airlines Settle Last 9/11 Wrongful-Death Lawsuit
Lawsuits had been filed on behalf of 85 people who were killed in the attacks. Although the individual legal settlements are secret, a court document filed in 2009, when all but three suits had been resolved, said that about $500 million had been paid out to resolve the claims.