The parents of Kendrick Johnson are suing over three dozen people and the Georgia city of Valdosta for the 17-year-old’s wrongful death. Johnson died after getting stuck upside down inside a rolled gym mat. Now, his family is seeking at least $100 million.
The teenager’s body was discovered inside the rolled up wrestling mat at his high school in 2013. While a state autopsy report concluded that Johnson died from accidental, positional asphyxia, an independent one, obtained by CNN in September of that year, said that the actual cause of death was non-accidental, blunt force trauma to different parts of the boy’s body. The Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office, however, said that no foul play was involved.
Johnson’s family believes that their son was murdered-as opposed to the finding that he got caught by accident in the gym mat while reaching for a shoe. Their wrongful death lawyers claim that the teenager was “induced” by a female student to go into the school’s old gym. They believe that two former schoolmates, their dad, and another former schoolmate are responsible for Johnson’s death in a violent assault.
The plaintiffs claim that county sheriff office employees, the city of Valdosta, its police department, and the state’s investigation bureau violated the boy’s right to equal protection under the law and due process. They believe that the investigation conducted was a cover up, not just of Johnson’s death but also of the identities of those responsible. Their lawyers say that the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress on the victim’s parents.
An attorney for the Lowndes County Sheriff’s Office has called the allegations in the wrongful death case “baseless.”
If someone you love was injured or killed in what you believe was a violent crime, you should speak with a Boston wrongful death attorney right away. Regardless of the outcome of any criminal investigation, you still may be able to pursue damages from the negligent party or parties, including the alleged assailant(s) and others who could have and should have prevented the incident from happening.
If the injury or fatality occurred on someone else’s property, you also may be able to pursue Massachusetts premises liability damages. If a defective or dangerous product was involved, you may have reasons for a products liability claim against a product manufacturer, seller, or distributor.
Losing your loved one or getting seriously hurt yourself can’t be undone but you may be able to hold the responsible parties liable and receive compensation to help assuage related costs and losses. The earlier you retain an attorney, the sooner a law firm can start collecting evidence and talking to witnesses. You also want to make sure that you submit your claim before the statute of limitations expires. In Massachusetts that statute for personal injury is three years.
Parents file $100 million lawsuit in gym mat death in Georgia, CNN, January 15, 2015
Kendrick Johnson Update: Video released in Ga. teen’s gym mat death shows “conspiracy to conceal the truth,” atty says, CBS, November 13, 2013
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