New York Personal Injury Law Blog » Interesting Cases in the News, Wrongful Death


February 12th, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith — Is a Wrongful Death Suit Possible?

Anna Nicole Smith left behind a spider web of litigation that not only won’t end soon, but could even get worse if her death is not from natural causes.

Over at FindLaw, Joanne Grossman writes a fairly thorough article entitled: The Litigation-Filled Life of Anna Nicole Smith, and the Legal Aftermath of Her Demise, but leaves out one big “what if.”

In discussing the future, she leaves out the potential for a wrongful death action if her death is found to be caused by drug-related issues. Such an action could be brought by the surviving daughter against someone that facilitated her acquisition of the drugs (if that is what happened, it is speculative at the moment).

And making matters worse, that person might be one of the people currently vying for custody of the child. It’s enough to make your head spin.

It is important to note that neither accidental or intentional overdose would preclude a wrongful death action (at least in New York). If one were to hand a suicidal person a gun, for example, the one that furnished the gun could be found negligent.

Since it has been reported that she may have had as many as 10 different medications in her room (and assuming that drugs were the cause), and also that she had a reported history of drug problems, the provider of those drugs could be found negligent for having supplied some of the medications.

Of course, with toxicology results not expected for some time, folks will have to wait. But there certainly looms the potential for a miserably complicated set of lawsuits to become more so.

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