The Kudlis family appears to view litigation as a matter of suing them all and letting God sort them out. The family suffered a terrible loss in the death of 3-year-old Marten Kudlis, who was killed in an accident in front of an ice cream store by Francis Hernandez, 25, an illegal immigrant. Their lawsuit, however, has raised eyebrows over the wide variety of 20-named defendants from the ice cream shop to the city to a car dealer.
The accident is something out of a torts final hypothetical on causation. Hernandez was driving about 80 mph when he hit a pickup driven by Patricia Guntharp. It turns out that Guntharp was high on methamphetamine at the time. Her pickup rammed the Baskin-Robbins, killing Guntharp, 49, and her passenger, Debra Serecky, 51.
The defendants include the following:
Car dealer: the Kudlis family insists that the person who sold Hernandez the Chevy Suburban was negligent and that, but for the sale, the accident would not have occurred. Hernandez had an invalid license.
Ice Cream Shop: the family is saying that the shop had a glass front which should have had some sort of crash barrier in anticipation of such an accident.
City: the family is suing the city for widening the street so that traffic was closer to the ice cream shop — a seven-foot distance to the shop from the street.
The Parents of Hernandez’s Common Law Wife: the family suspects that Hernandez’s parents supplied him with the Suburban.
Xcel Energy: This company is the contractor for the switch box that was hit. The cover then hit the boy.
The Family of Guntharp: The family believes that the deceased driver’s family should be liable for her actions.
Police Agencies: They are suing various police agencies that previously arrested Hernandez but did not report him for deportation.
While you often learn more facts in discovery (leading to the dropping of defendants), the shotgun approach in this complaint would likely send most judges into orbit and undermines the credibility of the plaintiffs. We have seen such lawsuits in the past and they tend to undercut all of the claims by trying to sue everyone tangentially involved in an accident, here.
There is no question that the police should answer for the failure to deport Hernandez, who reportedly used 12 aliases, here. However, such failures are more political and legal matters. To sue local police for not reporting Hernandez stretches causation theories to the breaking point.
Hernandez himself, was convicted last week (here) of 19 criminal counts and could face 100 years in prison.
For the full story, click here.
15 thoughts on “Sue Them All and Let God Sort Them Out: Family Adopts Shotgun Approach to Suing a Wide Variety of Defendants in Child’s Death”
The attorney on the case has done his torts professor proud… now if only they could include a claim for emotional distress of a family member who watched the accident on tv and had a heart attack. It would truely reach the level of a Torts final hypo.
They also forgot to sue Guatemala where the suspect was from. Had Guatemala been a better country with more opportunities he wouldn’t have crossed the border and arrived here. They should also then sue the State Department/President Bill Clinton for foreign policy errors and NAFTA which weakened central American economies by propping up US farmers. Had NAFTA and CAFTA not been signed maybe he’d have been a farmer in Guatemala instead of an illegal in the USA. Then they should sue GM because they built the Suburban in a way that it doesn’t break apart into crumbs when involved in an accident and surely the engineers should have considered this, they’d also have to sue all US taxpayers since the auto bailout means we own GM so we are liable as well.
You are probably correct. I forgot about attractive nuisances at or near ice cream shops. Maybe some young tart caused it and now she must pay for her actions.
“Did someone distract the driver? Maybe the common law wife could be sued too.”
Or the hot, young lassie walking down the street and “running folks into ditches”:
Did someone distract the driver? Maybe the common law wife could be sued too.
Nope it looks like you’ve covered everyone!
I am sure I left someone out.
WTF? The left out the dealer and/or supplier and the drug manufacture. The person that designed the road, the company that did the work, the workers. I can a negligent entrustment against them as well, either for completing the project or delays. The car manufacture, the insurance on the vehicle or all of them if he was not insured because he should have been. The state for allowing the city to widen the road and the county engineers. The manufacture and anyone associated with making the ice cream including but not limited to the dairy farmer and cow.
The above was meant only in respect to nals take on Poe’s Law.
I doubt these suits are the direct product of the grief of the Kudlis family. Rather, I’d think that they are the product of the lawyers “representing” Kudlis family.
Are some of these suits ever intended to be heard in a court? Are they just intended to to be “settled” by big-ish companies for “small” amounts (e.g. the suit against the utility company and the car dealer)?
“The Kudlis family appears to view litigation as a matter of suing them all and letting God sort them out.”
I blame torts professors for failing to teach us the difference between “but-for” causation and proximate cause. Personally I would have considered suit against Hernandez’ country of origin reasoning if they hadn’t have let him out of there, none of this would have happened.
they forgot to sue themselves for bringing their 3-year-old child to an ice cream shop neglecting the fact that this particular shop did not have some sort of crash barrier in anticipation of such an accident and also not considering that there are always drivers on the roads on drugs and or alcohol. and – most important – they had a baby! without baby no dead child.
This story keeps on giving.
It is now claimed that the cousin, Christian Hernandez (now deceased), was the driver. Sloppy police work may permit the “it wasn’t me” defense to have a chance.
Off topic but it needs to be mentioned
Pa. man dies during storm when 911 calls unheeded
PITTSBURGH – With her boyfriend in severe abdominal pain, Sharon Edge called 911 for an ambulance in the early morning hours of Feb. 6. Heavy snow was falling — so heavy it would all but bring the city to a standstill — and Curtis Mitchell needed to go to a hospital.
“Help is on the way,” the operator said.
It never arrived.
Nearly 30 hours later — and 10 calls from the couple to 911, four 911 calls to them and at least a dozen calls between 911 and paramedics — Curtis Mitchell died at his home. His electricity knocked out, his heat long off, the 50-year-old former steelworker waited, huddled beneath blankets on his sofa
Please expound on your statement.
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break.” (William Shakespeare)
“… the shotgun approach in this complaint would likely send most judges into orbit …” (JT)
Any judge that doesn’t understand the unbelievable grief and pain driving this case can stay in orbit for he/she doesn’t belong on the bench.
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