Can I sue the person who provoked a fight that caused someone to die? 27 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My grandson was involved in shooting got 85 yrs to life! No prior convictions. What happened was he was at a party and was told to leave, he did!! On his way out in the yard he was approached by three individuals one of them provoked him into a fight my grandson lost. The question is can I sue that person or persons who provoked the fight to happen? If it wasn’t for the fight, this tragedy would not of happened.

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
They may have provoked him, but he still had the option of not engaging in it. The choice was his. You can consult with a civil firm that does a lot of ciivl suits for a second opinion, but I don't see any grounds there for a suit.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
This response is general information only and does not establish an attorney client relationship. However, I would need further details, but he could sue the person but the likelihood of success can not be determined without further information.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 7/5/2011
Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
You may be able to sue only if you are a direct relative of the deceased. If you are a relative of the accused, you do not have what is called "standing" to sue.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/5/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
If your son was charged criminally, any civil action is unlikely to be successful. There is a duty to retreat under Minnesota law and no provocation is likely sufficient to allow lethal force.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 7/5/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
More information would be necessary to make an accurate determination but it does sound as though you may have the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/11/2013
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Civil liability for a criminal act is possible. You should consult with an experienced civil attorney for specific answers to this case.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    I handle exclusively criminal defense matters. I do not know the answer to your question as a lawyer and would direct you to contact a personal injury lawyer. It is my gut instinct that you would not be able to sue the provoker of the fight as each person is assumed to have free will and your grandson took steps that led to a shooting. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The answer is possibly but since your grandson was found guilty in the homicide, the case is not worth much if anything.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    From what you describe, the likely answer, after a murder conviction, is no. Any lawsuit would be in the name of your grandson. You may wish to check with a personal injury attorney to be sure.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Anybody can be sued for almost any reason. I don't personally feel that you would have a cause of action against that person based on what you have provided.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    You cant, but sure, your grandson could sue. Anybody can sue anybody for anything. Winning is entirely different. Ignoring the obvious problems that he was already convicted of the crime, and used all those facts and arguments in his defense, unsuccessfully, then wildly assuming he can win a civil case, does the defendant[s] have substantial assets to collect from to pay you back the substantial attorney fees and court costs you are going to spend?? Seriously, I would not take your money to even consider such case. Im sorry for you, but there is no case here.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    First of all, anyone can sue anyone else for anything. Ultimately a judge decides if a suit is legitimate. In order to prevail on a lawsuit, one must first have standing to bring the suit. Under the facts you have provided, you would not have standing to sue for something the happened to your grandson unless he is your guardian. Secondly, as I understand the facts, your grandson shot someone who was unarmed. Apparently if he was sentenced to 80 plus years, the judge or jury concluded your grandson used excessive force and that he had no right to do so. Consequently, the person or persons who provoked the fight would have no liability. I am an outspoken advocate for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. However, I don't drink when I'm carrying. The real tragedy here is that a gun was brought to a party. People, especially young people need to learn not to reach for a gun when they are insulted or threatened. The tragedy is that your grandson didn't simply walk away. At any rate, he drew the gun and apparently shot someone. No jury on this planet would award him for that. As I have said, you can surely sue anyone you want but in this situation, you would probably end up paying somebody else's attorneys fees and costs. After all that, a judge is still going to throw you out of court. I would be amazed that any attorney would pursue such a claim.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    The Woods Law Firm
    The Woods Law Firm | F.W. Woods Jr.
    It depends on whether or not your grandson was the shooter. If he was the shooter, provoked to fight or not, he is responsible for loss of life and has to do the time. If he was not the shooter, depending on the situation, there may be a case there.
    Answer Applies to: South Carolina
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your summary is too vague and not detailed enough to give you an opinion. You state that your grandson was "involved in a shooting and got 85 years to life". I assume that he was convicted of Murder in the First Degree or Second Degree. You want to know if you can sue the people who provoked the fight that led to your grandson's killing someone. You may not have the right to sue for a number of reasons. First, it may be that his parents can sue for something , but as the grandmother you cannot sue anyone. Second, it is more likely that the parents of the man who was murdered by your grandson would sue him or the other men in the fight, but that is unlikely as they probably are indigent and no lawyer will take the case without deep pockets. I am sorry for your loss.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You can sue anyone. Might be hard to win such a suit. I would suggest you consult with a civil lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    In order to sue someone, you have to have something called, standing, or a right to claim you were harmed under the law. I am unaware of any law that allows a grandparent to claim his or her grandchild was wrongfully convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    Under the fact pattern you presented you, as the grandmother have no standing to sue on your grandson's behalf.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    No. I dont think so. That would be a one year statute of limitations. So, dont wait on this if you want to pursue it. Please note the following necessary legal disclaimer: I have not given legal advice. I only give legal advice to my clients. I am not acting as your attorney. I have not agreed to represent you. We do not share a relationship as attorney and client. Attorneys often disagree. If you want further information or independent verification of anything I have said then you should immediately consult another attorney. All claims have time limits. In general, under New York law they are: three (3) years for personal injury and property damage actions, two and one half (2 ) years for medical malpractice claims, two (2) years for wrongful death, one (1) year for an intentional wrongdoing, six (6) years for contract claims, but four (4) years for sales of goods under the Uniform Commercial Code, and four (4) months to challenge an action or decision of a government body, department or agency. However, in a claim for personal injury or property damages, if any person or entity at fault is affiliated with a municipal or other government department, agency or facility, then you may be required to file a notice of claim within ninety (90) days and then commence a lawsuit within one (1) year and ninety (90) days, but sometimes within one (1) year. These time limits have exceptions. Never sit on your rights! I am admitted to practice in New York State. I am not licensed to practice in any other State.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    This is America, you can sue anyone. what would you get? money? if there is no money involved. you won't find a lawyer to help.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You might want to consult with a lawyer about your rights and options. While such a suit might be expensive and difficult to prove, you could consult with an attorney and make an informed decision about it. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Unless you were the victim you probably do not have a claim. You cannot file a lawsuit on behalf of another adult. I'm not sure from your facts as to how the person who died may be related to you. The estate of the deceased person may have a cause of action but then there may be an issue of recovery even if they obtained a verdict.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    You can sue, but your chances of winning are not much better than winning the lottery. The fact is, your grandson was convicted of homicide. That alone makes your civil lawsuit close to mission impossible.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law
    Edward A. Kroll, Attorney at Law | Edward A. Kroll
    If your grandson was convicted of this crime, then it is very unlikely that you have a valid civil suit.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    There is no basis for a lawsuit. Even if someone provoked a physical altercation with your grandson, it is not reasonably foreseeable that your grandson would shoot someone thus there would be no basis for holding someone else liable.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    Technically, you can sue the person, but it does not sound like it is likely to be successful. If there was any credible evidence that the fight was caused by the other party, then your grandson would have had a defense to his criminal charge. He was convicted beyond a reasonable doubt, so I don't think a civil suit would have any realistic chance.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/30/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    If someone was convicted of murder or assault, you can file civil case against that person or persons. The victim is the assaulted or the family, if they died from it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/30/2011
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