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.
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