Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Caylee's Law - Full Text of Proposed Florida Law (HB 37) and Is There a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against Casey Anthony?

Casey Anthony has been found not guilty and as this post is being typed, she is walking free somewhere, in an unknown location. Civil lawsuits have been filed against Casey Anthony - the defamation personal injury lawsuit by Zenaida Gonzalez is active now.

Other civil lawsuits are being discussed, particularly a wrongful death lawsuit brought against her on behalf of Caylee Anthony - and in that civil personal injury wrongful death suit, the burden of proof would be the lesser "preponderance of the evidence standard" not the higher "reasonable doubt" standard that the criminal jury found so insurmountable.

One key to that wrongful death case: who would file it? Under Florida law, as discussed here in a prior post, only certain family members may file a lawsuit seeking damages for the death of someone that has been proximately caused by another.

The most obvious party to file that suit? The baby's father. However, no one knows who is the father of Caylee Marie Anthony. Another clear possibility: the Executor of the Estate of Caylee Marie Anthony, whomever that might be (maybe one of the grandparents?). Will another family member file a wrongful death lawsuit against Casey Anthony on behalf of Caylee? No one has so far.

Another hurdle: what's their deadline to file?
The standard limitations deadline for a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, based upon an accident, is two years. Last year (July 2010), then-governor Charlie Crist signed into law the "Jeffrey Klee Memorial Act" which removed any deadline for a party to file a wrongful death lawsuit when the death was caused by homicide. The acquittal of Casey Anthony cleared her of homicide, so any suit against her for wrongful death arguably would not have the protection of the Klee Law.

Full Text of Proposed Florida Caylee's Law
In the aftermath of her surprising acquittal, grass roots campaigns across the country have sprung up, pushing for versions of "Caylee's Law" to be passed by state legislatures as well as the federal government. In Florida, that proposed legislation is HB 37 -- and you can read the full text here.

By Bryant Esquenazi on July 19, 2011 3:12 PM

1 comment:

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