Update: Judge approves dismissal of lawsuit filed by teen against the family she killed

Citing text messages she sent her boyfriend shortly before the incident, Montana prosecutors contend[ed] that Justine Winter’s crash at 85 mph into an oncoming vehicle was a deliberate suicide attempt. Winter, who face[d] trial on homicide charges in the deaths of Erin Thompson, the woman she ran into, and Thompson’s 13-year-old son, [then] sued Thompson’s estate as well as the construction company that built the interstate overpass where the accident occurred. [Overlawyered]

In February, a jury convicted Justine Winter in the deaths of 35-year-old Erin Thompson and her 13-year-old son Caden Vincent Odell.  Ms. Winter will be sentenced in April and faces anywhere from 10 to 100 years for each death.

After Ms. Winter was convicted, she requested dismissal of her civil lawsuit against the estate of the family she killed.

This week, the court approved the dismissal without prejudice (meaning that she can refile if she wants).  [source] [source]

Siouxsie doubts she will ever refile though.  It appears that the civil suit was used as a defense tactic in her criminal case. Apparently, this tactic was not particularly successful.  Hopefully, suing the victim’s family will not catch on as defense strategy.


~ by siouxsielaw on March 5, 2011.

3 Responses to “Update: Judge approves dismissal of lawsuit filed by teen against the family she killed”

  1. Even charitably construing the complaint, from a criminal defense standpoint this tactic makes little sense. Contributory negligence as to the roadway and its contractors isn’t/doesn’t fly when faced with clealry reckless driving, heedless of life and limb: going 85, in opposite directions, under/across an overpass, at night, isn’t going to end well for the defendant.

    • Unless, of course, you or I were defending them.
      But I agree, it doesn’t really make sense legally. Frivolous civil lawsuit does not equal a get out of jail free card.

  2. This case is outrageous. Sure, this girl’s attorney is a zealous advocate. But, this civil suit was a real stretch. I hope her attorney reads this post and Overlawyered, then decides to cease and desist filing this kind of crap.

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