A Pierce County judge Friday threw out a lawsuit brought against a Tacoma group home by a man whose brother died there during a 2009 heat wave.
Superior Court Judge Ron Culpepper approved the summary judgment motion filed by Aacres Landing.
The business argued that plaintiff Earl Vernon did not have standing to sue under state law, which limits beneficiaries in wrongful-death lawsuits to the deceased person’s surviving spouse, state-registered domestic partner, children or stepchildren.
A summary judgment is when a party to a suit asks a judge to rule in its favor without a trial.
Vernon’s brother, Henry David Vernon, died in July 2009 after his core body temperature reached lethal levels while he slept in an upstairs room of Tacoma house operated by Aacres Landing. The daytime temperature was in the mid-90s the day before.
Earl Vernon contended the group home did not do enough to protect his 55-year-old developmentally disabled brother from the heat. He sued in July.
The company has said it took all reasonable measures to protect its clients from the heat that summer. Four investigations into Henry David Vernon’s death found he died of accidental causes.
Earl Vernon said Friday he intends to appeal Culpepper’s ruling and to work with the Legislature to try to add more protections for vulnerable adults to state law.Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/crime @TNTadam