Archive for Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Victims file 2nd lawsuit in Boardwalk fire

October 10, 2007


Another lawsuit filed against Boardwalk Apartments

They were either injured or displaced by the Boardwalk Apartment fire - and now more victims come forward claiming the apartment complex is a fire-trap. Enlarge video

More victims of the fatal Boardwalk Apartments fire have come forward, filing another lawsuit in Douglas County District Court.

The latest lawsuit was filed on behalf of 10 victims of the October 2005 fire. Family members of Jose Gonzalez and Yolanda Riddle, both killed in the fire, also are listed as plaintiffs.

The lawsuit, against the Boardwalk Apartments and Terrace Management Services, claims the property was a "fire trap" and argues the defendants should have known about the problems long before fire swept through the 76-unit apartment building, killing three people and injuring at least 18 others.

The lawsuit also claims the apartment complex and management company were negligent for failing to have an adequate fire suppression system, adequate fire alarm system and adequate escape routes.

The victims, who were either injured or displaced by the fire, are seeking a minimum of $75,000 each.

In addition, Yolanda Riddle's father and Jose Gonzalez's sister are both seeking more than $75,000 for the wrongful death of their loved ones.

The lawsuit was filed by three law firms, including the Kansas City, Mo., firm of Hunter and Nantz, which took out half-page newspaper ads in the days following the Oct. 7, 2005, fire.

Nancy Bingham, whose daughter Nicole died in the fire, filed a similar lawsuit last week in Douglas County District Court.

Jason Rose, who lived at Boardwalk at the time of the fire, was convicted of setting the fire. He's serving a 10-year prison sentence.


trinity 10 years, 8 months ago

and you're still missing the point, aren't you. sad.

KS 10 years, 8 months ago

I am already on record about how tragic this was, but my only comment now is "follow the money". Don't sit me on the jury. It won't change anything.

Sharon Roullins 10 years, 8 months ago

It was indeed very tragic. My daughter decided not to file a lawsuit; she was just thankful that she escaped with a few injuries. I can't imagine the pain that the families are dealing with that lost a loved one. No amount of money will bring them back, but in their case, it may ease some financial burdens they had to encounter. I know some of you don't see the point in pursusing monetary compensation but put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about it for a few honest. What would you do? No one forced these people to live in the complex but on the same note, no one expected for someone, in a fit of rage, set the place on fire and have it burn down to the ground in a matter of minutes. My prayers are still with the families.

Baille 10 years, 8 months ago

"It won't change anything."

It won't? We don't know the stories of these families - whether anyone was financially dependant on those who died, whether anyone lost time or wages due to the alleged negligence of those sued, whether anyone was strapped with expenses that should be borne by tortfeasors and not by the family of the victims,

And what about the deterrent effect? Part of making tortfeasors pay for damages they cause is so that the natural consequences of any wrongful action are borne by the wrongdoers. Making sure that wrongdoers pay for all harms caused is how we keep the economics of the situation intact and make sure that there is enough information in the market so that all makret participants are making informed and educated decisions. Maybe those sued are only responsible for a portion of the loss, but they should at least bear responisbility for that portion and not foist their responsibilities and their debt of the families of these victims.

I though Republicans were supposed to be free-market scholars? What happened? Oh, right. Taken over by the neocons and creationists. I forgot.

matahari 10 years, 8 months ago

I am sure they are sueing the insurance companies. Surely the apt complex had fire insurance...maybe required?? They (insurance co's) is where the money would be coming from, yes?

matahari 10 years, 8 months ago

msshaden, surely your daughter is to be compensated for loss of household items, relocation, and medical expenses etc? If not, I certainly do not understand.

Crispian Paul 10 years, 8 months ago

I do have to say that as a family member of someone who died in a terrible accident (my sister and three other kids that were hit and killed by a drunk driver in 1991), I can certainly see both sides...

My parents filed suit against the other driver because, frankly, the initial response and investigation into the accident were poor, coupled with the sheer shock of the police, EMT's etc. and the fact that the accident was at 6:30 am on a Tuesday, not the "typical" time the police would expect that alcohol or other drugs might be involved. My family did lose wages, funeral costs, medical costs (did you know a gauze pad in a ambulance is like $20?!). In addition, my distraught parents needed to have answers as to why these kids died and this man walked away with minor injuries to his knee. So they did what many might think of doing and hired investigators, attorneys, accident reconstructionists, etc. because the man's story did not add up, witnesses came forward, etc.

This all being said, when you have this type of loss, you need answers and sometimes those answers lead to an understanding that someone was negligent and that that negligence has risen to the point of being criminal or at the least lead to some form of liability.

PS....My parents, after all that, simply let it go once they realized what they were in for. I guess the answers were enough.

KS 10 years, 8 months ago

Baille - Yes, this lawsuit will not change anything. It will not bring back the dead. If you want to sue someone, fine, just sue the person responsible (he's in jail) and not the person with money. Your message is very clear. This is NOT about justice, but rather MONEY. I am totally okay with suing someone. Just make sure it is the person responsible. Again, if I were on the jury, I would NOT award any damages from the apartment complex. This is ambulance chasing at its best. This is why our insurance rates, automobile, home, etc. are so high. We have to protect our backside from some ambulance chaser. If it isn't about money, then agree that any award granted should be placed into an account that will help future victims and their possible needs. If you can't agree to that, then "I rest my case", it's about money! Money can not raise the dead.

Baille 10 years, 8 months ago

Is that my message, KS? Because the term economics does not just refer to money. It's a balancing of risk - investments made in any endeavor balanced against the risk of loss no matter whether it is paying for harm caused, contracts breached or acts of god.

My message is not so clear - cause you just don't get it.

Ambulance chasing? What a stupid, tired, lazy phrase. The Rose kid's actions WILL be a part of the litigation. His fault is compared with that of everyone elses and any verdict that awards money will be apportioned according to fault.

I would agree that a portion of exemplary damage be placed into a state administered fund, but consequentials, pecuniary and non-pecuniary, should go to those that suffer the loss.

By the way, your insurance rates have NOTHING to do with meritless lawsuits and much to do with the state of the investments insurance companies are forced to keep. There are tons of research - from the insurance industry itself - supporting the truth of this. Legitimate claims do impact rates, but they should be paid NO MATTER what the impact. That is the purpose of insurance.

Tell you what, KS, I would like to see you sit down with the surviving family members of a man who was killed through medical negligence and tell them that suing that doctor will accomplish nothing. Sit down with a lady who is facing bankruptcy because she can't afford to pay for the care her brain damaged son requires and tell her to suck it up and move on. Sit down with the grieving mothers, the pissed off parapalegics, and those who face a lifetime of pain because of the negligence of another and tell them it's all about the money. But that won't happen will it? You don't work with those people do you? "Rest your case?" OK.

m1983 10 years, 8 months ago

offtotheright - your comment makes no sense. you said "Why does someone need the management of an apartment complex to inform them 'oh and by the way, this place is a fire trap, do you still want to live here'?"

It's not about being warned ahead of time that they aren't up to date on certain safety standards that apartments SHOULD have, it's taking responsibility for what they did NOT have that could have aided in saving lives. Could it have prevented the fire? No, they didn't start it. But the intensity, speed of the fire and how quickly it spread is a representation of NOT having adequate fire suppression system, adequate fire alarm system and adequate escape routes which are a GIVEN in most complexes.

m1983 10 years, 8 months ago

KS and everyone else who seems to think that the VICTIMS who lost family members in a BRUTAL way are only seeking monetary gain. Get your head out of the freaking sand.

Nancy Bingham and I am sure the other victims family members aren't stupid. They understand and KNOW that there is nothing that will bring their loved ones back. This is not an attempt to do so. I am not sure if you have lost a loved one, but if you think about the way these people died, and what you know from the information that was released, they SUFFERED, and experienced many people's absolute worst nightmare. How do you think these family members and friends have felt knowing this, and then seeing the issues such as basically NO fire suppression system, fire alarm system, fire walls, or escape routes arise? While the Boardwalk apartments did NOT cause this fire, they still hold responsibility for neglecting areas that are vital to fire safety. It was their choice to live there, but that's not something you can hold against them, today's day and age, you EXPECT things as simple and basic as that to be checked and taken care of. It wasn't a random earth quake people, fires happen, and apartment complexes plan and make sure they have everything they possibly can to prevent something like this from happening, alert people immediately, and offer ways to get out (especially on higher floors) and provide fire walls. Jason Rose lit a trash can with birthday cards on fire and inturn the entire place basically blew up in a matter of minutes. He didn't douse the complex with gasoline, yet it spread as if he did.. These things point directly to the owners and management, because taking the out the fact that it was intentional, it's OBVIOUS that if it would have been something random and accidental, the building would have still had the same outcome.

So many of you are quick to judge and throw out your opinions and views on what they are doing and why, but how dare you? What on earth do you know about a loss such as this? Who are you to say what's right, wrong, or what these peoples motives are. I am hoping that the lack of sensitivity is due to the fact that it's a message board on a computer and you would not say these things to someones face.

It doesn't matter WHAT their motives are, they have every right, along with the people who lived, to see justice for this issue. Personally knowing one of the victims motives, I know that it's really not about monetary gain, it's the PURPOSE and the point it expresses. It's not tolerable to have apartments that are basically death traps. Hopefully it will heighten awareness on this serious issue and cause other people to double check where they live and make sure they have these basic things provided and functioning.

m1983 10 years, 8 months ago

Please Please PLEASE take a few steps back and look at this from a HUMAN perspective and think of what you would do and how you would feel if you were Nancy Bingham, or the family members of Yolanda and Jose. Those of you who think you know it all may know quite a few facts, or how the system works, but you haven't walked in their shoes and have no right to knock them or accuse them for this, you have NO right to slander their name, or compare them with slimes who take advantage of the legal system and sue at the drop of a hat.

Bitter 10 years, 8 months ago

I was a juror in the criminal case. From the FACTS we heard, I can't believe more of the victims aren't sueing.

Bitter 10 years, 8 months ago

Ooops! Just read the article again. I completely understand that they are sueing. If you sat through 2 weeks of what we did and heard the recounts that we heard, some of you wouldn't be spouting off your maters of opinion so freely.

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