Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) July 26, 2011 – The parents of a dead man were suspicious of their daughter-in-law’s role in the sudden death of their son, so they filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
“This is an unusual case, one that captured the attention of the media for many months as the twists and turns of the story unfolded. In this reported case, the woman in question found her husband in the bedroom, and he was not breathing. EMS crews rushed him to hospital, but he was pronounced dead. The medical examiner said he’d died of a mixed drug intoxication, ruling the tragic death accidental,” said Brooks Schuelke, an Austin personal injury lawyer with Perlmutter & Schuelke, L.L.P.
The verdict did not sit well with the dead man’s family, and his father was immediately suspicious. He felt there was something wrong. The dead man’s family watched the widow move into a new house just after she stated she was selling because the home was too big for her. It turned out the new home was even bigger and more expensive. The family had trouble understanding how she could find the funding for a near-million dollar home.
The family spoke to a Sheriff’s Deputy about her unusual new found wealth, prompting some inquiries to the former neighbours of the deceased and his wife. What they uncovered was a shocking story in which the woman told the neighbours that she had mixed Vicodin into her husband’s drinks the evening he died, because she did not want to have intercourse with him. The sordid details did not stop there. The police report also contained information that the woman had been having an affair with a 15-year-old student.
As a result of this investigation, the dead man’s death certificate was changed from accidental to undetermined – a move that confirmed the feelings of the family that their son had been murdered. With death certificate in hand, and the rest of the details about their son’s death, the parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
“This is an interesting case from several points of view, but the most important element is the presence of negligence on the part of the wife in slipping her husband Vicodin. While it may have been done to incapacitate him for the evening, she obviously went too far. Without getting into the criminal charges here, the woman can be sued in civil court by the man’s family for the death of her husband. I’d strongly suspect they may ask for punitive damages, given the circumstances of the death and her other behaviour,” Schuelke said.
While this is a different case, the family will still need the valuable experience of a personal injury lawyer to help guide them through the justice system. They will, in all likelihood, receive a jury award for their son’s death, and while that will not bring him back, a finding for the plaintiff will hopefully prevent something similar happening to someone else.
Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP
1717 W. 6th Street, Suite 375
Austin, Texas 78703-4868
Call (512) 476-4944