Property Owners Settle Missouri Federal Wrongful Death Action For $ 5 Million After Student Falls From Balcony Due To Defective Railing
On Dec. 14, 2014, Jack Lipp was attending a fraternity party at a house in Columbia, MO, when railing on a balcony broke. Lipp fell to the ground and sustained injuries from which he died on Dec. 25, 2014. The student rental property was owned by defendant Ginger C, LLC, but was getting ready to be demolished by defendant American Campus Communities to make way for a student housing complex.
On Nov. 9, 2015, plaintiffs John and Stephanie Lipp, surviving parents of Jack Lipp, filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri, asserting claims under Missouri's wrongful death statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. $ S 537.080, and alleging negligence against defendants Ginger C, LLC, several American Campus Communities entities (ACC), Roland Management, and Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity (PKP)(both national and local chapters). Plaintiff claimed that Ginger C was aware of the condition of the railing but intentionally chose not to make repairs because of the upcoming demolition.
Plaintiffs reached a settlement with local PKP, which was approved by the court on Nov. 1, 2016. Plaintiffs subsequently reached a settlement with ACC, Ginger C, and Roland Management in the amount of $ 5,000,000. Judge Nanette K. Laughrey approved the settlement on April 7, 2017. The order of approval is attached below.
Plaintiffs' counsel included: Aaron W. Smith of The AW Smith Law Firm PC in Columbia, MO; Robert A. Horn and Joseph A. Kronawitter of Horn Aylward & Bandy, LLC in Kansas City, MO. Defense counsel included: Jacqueline Cook of Franke, Schultz & Mullen in Kansas City, MO; Jeffrey H. Blaylock and Clayton L. Thompson of Ford, Parshall & Baker, LLC in Columbia, MO.
Lexis Advance subscribers may view the complete summary here: John P. Lipp and Stephanie S. Lipp v. Ginger C, LLC, et al; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 1039.
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Editor's Note: This Document of the Week blog post originated from documents filed with the court and not from an attorney submission.