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Ala Moana Center is partially at fault in pregnant woman’s death, court rules

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:18 a.m. HST, Jul 20, 2013

Ala Moana Center had an obligation to care for a pregnant woman after she got stuck in an exhaust duct at the mall in 2005 and later died, even if she was trespassing on its roof, the state Supreme Court ruled.

The opinion issued Thursday also upheld parts of a lower court’s ruling in favor of the mall, finding Ala Moana Center couldn’t be held liable for failing to anticipate that the woman would sneak onto the roof and end up in the vent. The case now goes back to Circuit Court.

The family of Jasmine Rose Anne Fry, 22, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming Ala Moana was negligent and failed to care for Fry and her unborn baby.

Fry was six to eight weeks pregnant when she somehow accessed the roof, squeezed into the duct above the food court and got trapped in a stove hood, according to the Supreme Court’s opinion. The medical examiner determined she was suffering a psychotic episode, based on information about the circumstances leading to her death.

The ruling said Fry died of hyperthermia after rescuers removed her from the duct.

“We are very happy that we are going to get our day in court,” Myles Brei­ner, one of the family’s attorneys, said Friday.

The high court said the shopping center “had a duty to exercise reasonable care to control those factors to prevent them from doing harm to Fry, even if she was a trespasser.”

A maintenance worker found Fry on the roof, barefoot and dressed in shorts and a tank top. She had grease smeared on her feet, hands, hair and face and told the worker she was a contractor hired to clean grease from an exhaust fan.

He thought it was odd and said the woman seemed to be acting erratically, jumping on the duct and saying there was a baby inside, according to the court’s opinion. Her jumping broke a hole in the metal, and she squeezed her way in. The worker called security.

Fry fell four stories and landed above a deep-fryer in the food court, Breiner said.

Employees eventually turned off the stoves. While trapped, Fry told a security officer she was on the roof because “she wanted to be free.”

No one from Ala Moana called emergency services until about 20 minutes later, according to the ruling. The first call was to police to say a woman broke into the duct and was crawling through without authorization. Later, another call asked for help getting her out of the duct.

Frye was transported in critical condition to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

General Growth Properties Inc., which owns and manages Ala Moana Center, declined to comment.

Michael Green, another attorney representing Fry’s family, said it’s still not known how Fry was able to access a series of locked doors to get up on the roof.

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iwanaknow wrote:
Just give her $1.00 and call it fair?
on July 20,2013 | 02:30AM
false wrote:
This is ridiculous. First the guard should have called someone about the woman pretending to be a service provider, no id, no work order, no tools or assistant. Dress doesn't make sense. Why is it that we the people are at fault when one goes coocoo? Ala Moana shouldn't be liable for trespassers who do dumb things. Ridiculous in real life. That's like someone finding the way to the roof and jumping off.
on July 20,2013 | 05:19AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Another dollar for the fetus?
on July 20,2013 | 10:09AM
whs1966 wrote:
"Michael Green, another attorney representing Fry’s family, said it’s still not known how Fry was able to access a series of locked doors to get up on the roof. Ah, yes, he needs to know that so he can show that Ala Moana Center was negligent. After all, property owners, especially those with deep pockets, must prevent even mentally disturbed from injuring or killing themselves on their property. How else can these attorneys earn a living?
on July 20,2013 | 06:32AM
AmbienDaze wrote:
Myles Brei­ner is one of the family’s attorneys. He is the same attorney from the Waimanalo truck theft case involving Dinnan. These guys are all over the the place. Like cockroaches.
on July 20,2013 | 02:51PM
Workingrl wrote:
Michael Green is the primary cockroach attorney.
on July 21,2013 | 09:32AM
localgirl2 wrote:
Oh, oh, oh, what a miscarriage of justice! WHY is Ala Moana responsible for anything, just explain that to me? This nut case who just wanted to be free is now truly free. She is no longer on this earth. God Bless her but Ala Moana is INNOCENT! "Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth – Put out my hand and touched the Face of God."
on July 20,2013 | 07:17AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Whatever happened to common sense?
on July 20,2013 | 10:02AM
baileygirl9631 wrote:
Whatever happened to responsibility? Nowadays it's always "not my fault". This just another case of greed. Same like people who risk themselves by doing risky things no one forced them to do.
on July 20,2013 | 10:43AM
mikethenovice wrote:
God better watch out. So much for not being responsible for an act of God damage.
on July 20,2013 | 12:18PM
mikethenovice wrote:
She may have won, but she is still dead. Still not worth it.
on July 20,2013 | 10:03AM
W15 wrote:
Her family has not won yet. The case must go back to the trial court for a trial on at least one remaining issue. Ala Moana actually prevailed on most of the issues/claims. The family still has to prove its claim in court. The article does a poor job of explaining that.
on July 20,2013 | 04:06PM
mikethenovice wrote:
People like this force business to lock up the restrooms. So sad we all are dragged into living like an animal.
on July 20,2013 | 10:04AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Teah. The lawyer says he's "happy". Is he happy for the family or just the money. Hard to say.
on July 20,2013 | 10:05AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Sorry. spelling should have been, Yeah.
on July 20,2013 | 12:18PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Was Ala Moana responsible for her "crazy" behavior before the accident occurred?
on July 20,2013 | 10:08AM
W15 wrote:
No -- the court opinion specifically says so. Too bad the news article failed to clearly explain that.
on July 20,2013 | 04:00PM
mikethenovice wrote:
She should have been seeing a shrink doctor for her condition.
on July 20,2013 | 10:10AM
mikethenovice wrote:
This means more security guards and padlocks. They might even close down the elevators and escalators? Have the bus stop moved away. Who knows?
on July 20,2013 | 10:14AM
mikethenovice wrote:
I used to work the midnight shift. Waiting for the bus I couldn't even get a drink of water at the fountain, nor sit right in front of the store window. The guard told me its private property.
on July 20,2013 | 10:16AM
mikethenovice wrote:
Sorry. At Aa Moana SC.
on July 20,2013 | 06:04PM
mikethenovice wrote:
"even if she was trespassing" . So we can violate and still sue. I don't get it. That means that someone can run in front of a moving car and still collect? Better sell my insurance stocks too?
on July 20,2013 | 10:19AM
baileygirl9631 wrote:
That's the kind of laws we have nowadays. Protect the perpetrator and prosecute the innocent.
on July 20,2013 | 10:45AM
mikethenovice wrote:
on July 20,2013 | 12:15PM
baileygirl9631 wrote:
Lots of times people will take it to court because the defendant will pay rather than go through a long drawn, costly, jury trial. Even if they're the ones who caused it by stupidity. There have been other cases where people have sued the State for stuff like this and won.
on July 20,2013 | 10:50AM
mikethenovice wrote:
The attorney took a chance on a case with lots of gullible people that they can select for the jury. Everyone gets lucky once in a while.
on July 20,2013 | 12:17PM
W15 wrote:
The reporter needs to go back and read the Court's opinion again. The headline to the article is completely wrong. The opinion did not find Ala Moana liable. The opinion says there are disputed issues of fact on Ala Moana's liability, once its employees discovered the woman in distress. There has been NO finding concerning Ala Moana's liability. The case is sent back to the trial court, for further proceeding. Ultimately, there will be a trial to determine Ala Moana's liability, if any. The woman's family still has to prove their case. The headline and the article itself is completely misleading. They make it sound like certain rulings and findings have been made, but that's not the case at all! And it's driving a lot of readers/posters on here to come to the wrong conclusion. Some poor reporting here...
on July 20,2013 | 12:31PM
nitpikker wrote:
green should be ashamed! frivolous lawsuit that exemplifies ALL that is wrong about the law profession!! and the family is just a bunch of bloodsuckers!! the girl was the sole cause of her own death. its too bad she died.
on July 20,2013 | 01:52PM
Workingrl wrote:
What ? Ashamed? This type of case is Green's bread and butter.
on July 21,2013 | 09:36AM
Rickyboy wrote:
Her family shares the negligence for not seeking help for her while she was alive.
on July 20,2013 | 10:35PM
Workingrl wrote:
on July 21,2013 | 09:36AM
false wrote:
Regretfully she did them the favor of not being a burden. What income could she have contributed? Was she on assistance? Then what value does any of it demonstrate? More welfare support?
on July 21,2013 | 12:36PM
truelies wrote:
BRING IN J.J. SHE'S A WINNER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
on July 21,2013 | 11:19AM
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