October 24, 2017
A $4.2-million dollar wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against Michelle Carter, the woman who was convicted of manslaughter in 2014 in the highly publicized case involving 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, who committed suicide at her urging. The two had been involved in an up-and-down romantic relationship, reports Mass Live, and this relationship was largely carried out through Facebook messages and texts. Carter urged the young man to commit suicide in a long series of phone calls and texts, and a judge found her responsible for his death as a result of her conduct.
Carter was sentenced this past August to 2.5 years in prison, with 15 months to be served and the remaining time suspended until 2022. However, the judge did rule that the sentence would be stayed until the Massachusetts courts issue a ruling on her appeal, and she is currently free under conditions of probation that she must follow.
The wrongful death suit filed by Roy’s family contained ten factual claims, and Carter’s legal representation gave a response that she neither denies nor admits to any of these allegations. Since her case is under appeal, her attorneys will not admit to anything during the wrongful death proceedings because anything she admits to in the civil case could be used against her later and harm her appeal.
Wrongful death claims are often filed after criminal proceedings are finished or the defendant has been found not guilty. A famous example of this is football player and actor O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted in criminal charges related to the deaths of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown but later found liable in a wrongful death claim brought by their families.
With Carter’s pending appeal, statements in the civil case could affect proceedings down the line. However, the family of the victim was up against a deadline, as Massachusetts laws require that wrongful death cases be filed within three years of the incident. The wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family just a week before the third year after Roy’s death.
The lawsuit filed by Roy’s mother, Lynn Roy, alleges that his death means lost wages in the amount of $4,224,000, and it cited the captain’s license Roy received just before his death as documentation of his earning potential. It also claimed that the negligence and reckless conduct of Carter caused Roy to experience personal injuries, suffering, pain and ultimately death.
Back in August, the attorney for the Roy family stated that the family would use any award from the civil lawsuit to establish a memorial in Conrad Roy’s name, possibly a scholarship fund.
A person’s negligence, reckless behavior and/or failure to uphold responsibilities can result in the untimely death of another person and serious emotional and financial consequences for his or her surviving family. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one because of the actions – or inaction – of someone else, speak to a wrongful death or car accident lawyer Denver CO trusts about your case and your rights today.
Thanks to our friend and contributors from Richard J. Banta, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death cases.