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After Near-Fatal Carjacking, Court Upholds Negligence Claims

No one disputes that something terrible happened to Lai Chau on Dec. 13, 2001. The courts are still trying to decide, though, how much of the blame her former apartment building owner and manager share in the attack that nearly killed her.

The University of South Florida student was carjacked in the parking lot of her apartment building, driven to a nearby elementary school, shot three times in the head and left for dead. Remarkably, Chau survived. In February, the 2nd District Court of Appeals in Florida upheld a $10 million punitive damages award and $5.7 million compensatory damages award against Southstar Equity and Brookside Properties Inc. Within weeks, the former owner and former manager of Chau's Tampa apartment complex filed a request for an en banc hearing by the district court or for certification to petition the Florida Supreme Court for a hearing.

They also argue that the alleged misrepresentations "did not proximately cause Chau's injuries as a matter of law."

At press time, there had been no ruling on the request for an en banc hearing or Supreme Court appeal.

staff Writer

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