An appellate court has ruled that Deborah Kincaid can sue her ex-husband for her daughter's Los Angeles County wrongful death. This decision revives Kincaid's civil complaint, which was dismissed by a Superior Court judge in 2009.
Kincaid claims her daughter Shannon committed suicide because Jeffrey Kincaid sexually abused her. The couple had gotten married when Shannon was 11 but it wasn't until the latter turned 25 that she reported the alleged abuse. Shannon's allegations against her stepfather also included molestation and torture. She accused him of using his hands to choke her and placing a plastic bag over her head. She also contended that he would use lit cigarettes to burn her.
Shannon, who suffered from psychological and emotional problems and struggled with substance abuse, committed suicide in 2008 by jumping off an apartment building roof. In her suicide note, she said that she couldn't take her "rape memories" any longer.
Later that year, Deborah sued her ex-husband for LA wrongful death and accused him of torturing and raping Shannon over a 10-year period. Jeffrey has since denied the allegations and DNA results from a police probe have also been negative.
However, in 2005, when Deborah accused Jeffrey of abusing Shannon, rather than flat out denying the allegations he said that he didn't know or remember. The police were listening in as part of their investigation and a number of conversations were recorded.
The judge who previously dismissed the wrongful death case said that the recordings could not be used as evidence. Now, however, the appeals court is allowing this evidence, which includes the conversations that it says could be interpreted as "adoptive admissions" of the alleged abuse. Deborah is seeking noneconomic, economic, and punitive damages.
This Los Angeles County wrongful death case is a prime example of why it is important that you speak with an injury attorney to find out whether you have a case. You want to work with an LA personal injury law firm that will fight for your right to recovery whether through settlement or in court--even if it means continuing to pursue your case until you get what you are owed. A person does not have to have directly caused a death to be held liable in civil court.
Suicide victim's mother wins right to sue former husband over daughter's death, Los Angeles Times, July 10, 2011
C.A. Revives Suit Claiming Man Drove Stepdaughter to Suicide, Metropolitan News-Enterprise, July 7, 2011
Deborah Kincaid v. Jeffrey Kincaid, Justia.com
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Newport Beach Bicycle Accident Lawsuit Seeks Damages from City Over Man's Orange County, California Wrongful Death, California Injury Lawyers, June 23, 2011
Los Angeles Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed In Toddler's Fatal Fall at Staples Center During Lakers Game, California Injury Lawyers, May 29, 2011