Dead Slipknot bassist at center of legal controversy: court rules daughter could bring unusual suit

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The Iowa Supreme Court may have inadvertently opened a Pandora’s box in affirming the rights of children born after a parent’s death.

The high court ruled Friday that the daughter of deceased Slipknot bassist Paul Gray may sue for loss of a parent’s companionship in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Gray’s widow after the musician died of a drug overdose, according to Fox News.

Gray, who was being treated for drug addiction, died in May 2010 and his wife, Brenna Gray, responded by suing the medical care providers.

The widow exceeded the statute of limitations in the case, resulting in a dismissal by a lower court. But in upholding the dismissal, the state Supreme Court said the couple’s daughter, October Gray,  is eligible to pursue damages.

“The court said the deprivation of her father’s comfort and guidance is no less real because she didn’t experience it while in utero,” Fox News reported.

“The young daughter could still suffer the emotional effects of her father’s death after her birth, making the claim eligible to be decided by a jury,” Justice Daryl Hecht said, according to the Des Moines Register.

LegalMatch.com states that the loss of companionship and consortium is considered a non-economic damage often associated with wrongful death cases.

The attorney/client matching service describes the loss of companionship and consortium as “the emotional sadness one goes through when an immediate family member (spouse or child) has been injured or killed.”

The question is, do you agree that children of deceased parents should be able to bring such a suit, and if so, how far-reaching will the decision be?

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Tom Tillison

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