Who can forget Anna Nicole Smith and the truly bizarre circumstances of not only her death but the death of her son just two weeks earlier? The beautiful supermodel and one-time Guess model had just given birth to her second baby, a little girl she named Dannielynn, after her son. Daniel showed up at the hospital in the hours following his younger sister’s birth and spent time holding her and talking to his mother. At some point, he fell asleep in one of the chairs in the hospital and never woke. As the mother grieved the loss of her son, she tried to find balance with her happiness of having a daughter. It was too much, and two weeks after her son’s death, she died in a Florida hotel room. There was a disturbing scandal and extended courtroom battle over who should have possession and ultimately, decision-making rights over her body. The wrongful death lawsuits were filed in Florida by several people in her circle. The big suit was filed against her psychiatrist, who prescribed a disturbing number of painkillers, which resulted in her overdose. Eventually, the cases were tossed out, and mother and son were buried close to one another while the infant girl is being raised by her father in Kentucky.
Just two months before Anna Nicole Smith was found in a Florida hotel room, the family of a young woman who killed herself after an especially brutal interview by talk show host Nancy Grace was filed. The Melinda Duckett case is another bizarre story with many unanswered questions.
You may recall the story of the young boy who disappeared while in the care of his mother. Trenton Duckett disappeared with no clues or signs that might point investigators and his family to his whereabouts. At the time, Nancy Grace, a former Georgia prosecutor, and Headline News talk show host had interviewed the boy’s mother, Melinda Duckett. Grace was an especially aggressive interviewer and accused the young mother of many things. It was too much for the young woman and after the interview, but before it aired, she committed suicide with a shotgun in her grandparents’ closet.
Soon, family members filed a lawsuit and alleged fraudulent misrepresentation and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which led to the Melinda’sdeath. The complaint spelled out Melinda Ducketts’ parents’ accusations and state, “Nancy Grace intentionally lured Melinda Duckett onto the show by telling her that the interview would help her to find her missing son by publicizing his abduction. Her real intention was to accuse Melinda Duckett on the show, interrogating her about the boy’s disappearance and implying that the distraught mother killed her own son.”
It took four years, but the family finally settled with Grace for an undisclosed amount, all of which was placed into an account to be used to find their missing grandson.
These are just two famous cases surrounding wrongful death suits in Florida and involving celebrities and others who died while in the public eye. For more information, speak to our wrongful death attorneys today.