Family of Crushed Tampa Girl Files Wrongful Death Suit

A Tampa family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against their apartment complex’s owners after a gate fell and crushed their daughter’s head, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The parents of seven-year-old Zhanaye Williams say the young girl was trapped after the gate to the Brookside Apartments fell and caused the head trauma that killed her. Neighbors say she was killed after swinging on the gate, being pushed back and forth by other children while waiting for the school bus. One of the witnesses to the horrific accident was the victim’s brother, nine-year-old Christian Williams.

The victim’s mother, Coretta Williams, filed the suit on behalf of her daughter’s estate. The lawsuit claims that the apartment complex and management, Franklin Street Apartment Management Services, were responsible for Williams’ death because they “failed to maintain the premises, correct dangerous conditions, warn residents, and implement procedures to inspect and correct the conditions.” The accident was, according to the family’s lawyers, “reasonably foreseeable.” The four-count lawsuit alleges wrongful death against Brookside and Franklin Street and “negligent infliction of bodily injury and emotional distress” to both Williams’ and her brother. The suit alleges Christian Williams suffered permanent emotional distress and injury from the accident.

The Brookside Apartments are owned by Barfield Bay Holdings Inc., a real estate company that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization on its Brookfield properties in 2009. The company’s financial woes stemmed from various capital improvements, such as roof repairs, parking lots, and termite-damaged wood.