Court of Appeals Gives Green Light for Widow’s North Carolina Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against City of Gastonia

October 12, 2009, by Michael A. DeMayo

A woman’s Gaston County, North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Gastonia can move forward, says the NC Court of Appeals. The appellate court reversed a Superior Court judge’s decision to drop the lawsuit because of a procedural technicality.

Kelle Renzulli Tallman’s husband Brian died from irregular heartbeat complications on December 21, 2004 after roughhousing with his stepson, Jordan Renzulli. In her North Carolina wrongful death complaint, Kelle Tallman accuses firefighters of preventing Renzulli from administering CPR to her husband yet, at the same time, not acting to provide him with medical care while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

Renzulli was at first charged with second-degree murder but in October 2007, prosecutors dismissed the charges against him. Kelle Tallmen has always maintained that her husband and son were wrestling and just having fun with one another.

Although Brian was never diagnosed with heart problems, autopsy reports indicate that he died from arrhythmia. Kelle says her husband might not have died if firefighters had taken medical action or let her son continue administering CPR to Brian.

In December 2006, she applied to have the two-year statute of limitations for filing a North Carolina wrongful death lawsuit extended. The city of Gastonia, however, attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed because even thought the Superior Court assistant clerk granted the extension, the estate of Brain Tallman, which Kelle noted as the plaintiff of the lawsuit, did not legally exist when she filed her extension request.

The Superior Court judge dismissed her wrongful death lawsuit. The Court of Appeals, however, disagreed and found that Kelle becoming the administrator was enough to ratify the summons filing and extension application.

Emergency workers and their employers can be held liable for North Carolina personal injury or wrongful death if their negligence or carelessness contributes to causing injury or death.

It is important that you consider exploring your legal options before giving up on pursuing North Carolina injury or wrongful death recovery.

Court of Appeals: Woman can sue city of Gastonia for husband’s wrongful death, Gaston Gazette, September 15, 2009

The Estate of Brian Tallman v. The City of Gastonia, North Carolina Court of Appeals, Filed September 15, 2009 (PDF)

Related Web Resources:
City of Gastonia

Court of Appeals of North Carolina


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