St. Louis Record

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Wrongful death case dismissed after plaintiff passes away, judge rules


By Charmaine Little | Oct 13, 2018

The case concerned a fire that damaged property, injured a girl and killed another minor.

ST. LOUIS –– A federal judge handed down multiple rulings in a complex wrongful death case after the plaintiff passed away.

Just weeks before her death in January, Candace J. Higgins filed a wrongful death lawsuit against nine defendants, alleging a space heater caused a fire that destroyed her property, injured a girl and killed another. 

The defendants were Midea Inc., Midea America Corporation, Penlonis Appliances Inc., Deep  Discounts LLC, Deep Discounts Warehouse Retailer LLC, Pelonis USA ,  Pelonis Technologies Inc., Pelonis Heating Products and Higgins' landlord Betty Elder.

Higgins legal team attempted to add another plaintiff, one of the girl's fathers, to the case after Higgins died, but the defendants challenged the motion, because it was not timely.

In the Oct. 2 decision, Judge John A. Ross of the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Missouri found the girl's father, Corey Strong, can be appointed as "next friend" of his daughter and he can dismiss her claims. 

The court also dismissed Higgins’ claims, stating that there was no request for a substitute within the allowed time.

The court also dismissed the landlord's counter-claim, which was filed after Higgins' death. 

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