Father Files Wrongful Death Suit for Daughter

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Marc Gauthier of Salem, Massachusetts, has filed a wrongful death suit against his daughter's boyfriend and the boy's mother. Christopher Maxson was driving his mother's SUV while intoxicated and lost control of the vehicle while speeding. After driving past a stop sign, he collided with parked cars and rolled the SUV, which ejected Julia Gauthier through the sunroof, killing her instantly.

The lawsuit accuses both Maxson and his mother, Margaret, of negligence leading to Julia's death. Christopher is named because of his reckless driving and intoxication, while Margaret was included for negligently entrusting the vehicle to her son. It is unclear if the lawsuit was filed to include Maxson’s mother because Gauthier believes she knew her son was drunk and let him drive anyway, or filed simply under the umbrella of general responsibility.

The wrongful death case is being filed concurrently with the criminal trial that Christopher faces for the drunk driving charges. Gauthier had the suit filed immediately following his daughter's funeral in the hopes of preserving critical evidence that may be present in the SUV itself due to the fact that as more time passes following any incident, the less likely evidence is to be properly preserved.

For his part, Christopher has pled not guilty to the charges against him in the criminal case. These charges include motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and recklessly, drunken driving, driving to endanger, and failing to stop.

The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Thursday, April 8. Gauthier's attorney, Eric Finamore, will be present to explain the rationale behind the effort to preserve evidence from the SUV. The Maxson's lawyer will have the opportunity to oppose the measure, though it isn't likely he will do so. As of this time, it is unknown if the Maxsons were made aware that the civil suit had been filed.


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