Wrongful death suit could include congresswoman, debate ongoing

Family members of a 27-year-old woman who was struck by a legislator’s aide in December are pursuing legal action against the politician’s office. Official reports show that the relatives are attempting to link California Rep. Lois Capps to the accident, as it appears that her staffer was working for her in an official capacity on the night that he struck the victim and then fled the scene of the crime. If that is true, then the federal government could be held liable in the wrongful death case, as could the driver and the congresswoman herself.

The driver had been employed as a representative for the politician when he caused the fatal accident in early December. He has already pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with the incident, which occurred as he was leaving a party that was being hosted by a California newspaper. One of the disputed facts in the case relates to whether the driver, an Iraq war veteran, was working in an official capacity on the night that he was involved in the wreck.

The driver has testified under oath that he was, in fact, representing the congresswoman on official business at the party thrown by the Santa Barbara Independent. The politician, however, is looking to distance herself from those claims. Allegations have even surfaced that the office took major steps to prevent the driver from spending time in jail; those included reportedly forging the man’s signature on government documents.

Capps reportedly provided support to the staffer until the victim was taken off of life support. A freelance journalist reportedly discovered ties between the politician’s office and the defendant even days after the collision. No matter who was ultimately responsible for this fatal accident, the family members of the victim deserve financial compensation for their pain and suffering and other damages. Even politicians must be held accountable for their roles in such serious accidents.

Source: Fox News, “California rep sued over DUI death, questions raised about ties to driver” Stephanie McNeal, Apr. 24, 2014