Hawaii Supreme Court Rules on Wrongful Death Suit

August 1, 2013

A la Moana Center had a duty to care for a woman who died after getting stuck in an exhaust duct, even though she was trespassing on the roof, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled.

But the opinion also affirms parts of a lower court’s ruling in favor of Ala Moana that the mall couldn’t be liable for not anticipating she would sneak onto the roof and end up in the vent.

The case now goes back to Circuit Court. The family of Jasmine Rose Anne Fry, 22, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming Ala Moana was negligent and failed to care for her and her unborn baby. Fry was six- to eight weeks pregnant when she accessed the roof and squeezed into the duct and got trapped in a stove hood in 2005. She died of hyperthermia after rescuers removed her. The medical examiner said she had a psychotic episode.

The high court said it was proper to grant summary judgment in favor of Ala Moana but that the mall “had a duty to exercise reasonable care to control those factors to prevent them for doing harm to Fry…” No one from Ala Moana called emergency services until about 20 minutes after a mall employee found her, according to the ruling.

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