The Georgia judge who found Nick Gordon “legally responsible” for the death of Bobbi Kristina Brown, has ordered him to pay $36 million for in a civil lawsuit. Brown is the daughter of singers Bobby Brown and the late Whitney Houston.
Brown died in July 2015, six months after the 22-year-old was found unresponsive, face-down in a bathtub at the suburban Atlanta home the couple shared. In August 2015,the conservator of Brown’s estate filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit against Gordon, accusing him of assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress and transferring money from Brown’s account into his own without authorization. Gordon was Brown’s longtime partner.
A wrongful death action is a civil action against someone who can be held liable for a death. An injury that causes someone’s death may be grounds for a wrongful death action. A claim for wrongful death can be made by a person’s survivors — typically close relatives — and under modern wrongful death statutes, the decedent’s executor or administrator can bring a lawsuit, too.
After Gordon failed to appear for two hearings in the civil case, Brown’s estate won by default in September when the judge ruled Gordon responsible for Bobbi Kristina’s death. Gordon is now required to pay future earnings to Brown’s estate.
Brown lingered for months in hospice care before she died. She never regained consciousness. An autopsy showed drug intoxication and immersion in water caused pneumonia and brain damage that led to her death. In the civil lawsuit, the Brown estate accused Gordon of playing a role in her death by giving her a “toxic cocktail” of drugs. It also asserted Gordon beat Brown the day she was found, knocking out one of her teeth and leaving her brain-damaged and unconscious. Though police investigated, Gordon has not been charged with criminal offenses.
It is possible Gordon has not been charged criminally because the burden of proof in a criminal case is higher than in a civil action. Burden of proof is the threshold that a party seeking to prove a fact in court must reach in order to have that fact legally established. In a criminal case, the prosecution must prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If a jury has reasonable doubt, it means sufficient evidence is lacking to convict the defendant. In a civil case, a jury must determine, by a preponderance of evidence, that the defendant is liable. Proving an accusation by a preponderance of evidence requires demonstrating the accusation is more likely true than not.
If you have been harmed as a result of the actions of another person, or if a loved one has died, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the offices of trial attorneys Charles Gilman and Briggs Bedigian at 800-529-6162 or contact them online. The firm handles cases in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington, D.C.
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