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$3 Million Massachusetts Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Teen’s Death Following Freak Chimney Collapse

The Massachusetts family of Visar Luzha, a 19-year-old teenager who died in a chimney collapse accident at a party in 2005, is suing the party host for wrongful death. The plaintiffs, who are seeking $3 million in damages on behalf of Luzha’s estate, filed their lawsuit in Salem Superior Court in August.

The fatal freak accident occurred at a house party in Beverly on August 19, 2005. Luzha, an immigrant from Kosovo, was sitting in a hammock that was hanging between a chimney and a tree. The chimney gave way, causing cinder blocks to fall onto Luzha and hit him on the head. He died from his injuries.

The lawsuit contends that Rachel Halupowki invited people to the home but did not obtain permission from the property owners to have the party guests over. The plaintiff says that Halupowski, now 21, had a duty to protect her guests and she failed in that duty when she did not warn Luzha that it might not be safe to sit in the hammock.

Luzha’s family is seeking compensatory and punitive damages for pain and suffering, wrongful death, and gross negligence.

Who can file a claim for wrongful death in Massachusetts:

• Husband or wife • Children • If there is no spouse or children, then next of kin are entitled to wrongful death recovery
Property owners and those overseeing a property or event are required to ensure that there are no unsafe conditions on a premise that can cause serious injury or death. They can be held liable for premises liability or wrongful death if someone is injured or killed on the premise and they knew (or should have known) that the unsafe condition existed and did nothing to repair, remedy, or remove the hazard.

$3M lawsuit filed over teen’s death, SalemNews.com, August 9, 2008
Victim of hammock accident mourned, Boston.com, August 22, 2005

Related Web Resource:

Massachusetts, Summary of State Wrongful Death and Intestacy Statutes