Wrongful death suit filed against apartment owners

Last updated: April 09. 2014 11:43PM - 1683 Views
By - elewis@civitasmedia.com



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WILKES-BARRE — Sherman Hills Realty LLC will place $900,000 in an escrow account in lieu of a forthcoming sale of the apartment complex in Wilkes-Barre and a decision by a Luzerne County judge to protect assets if damages are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.


The Brooklyn-based realty company is selling 18 acres of the 22-acre Sherman Hills apartment complex to Treetop Development for $15.7 million. Closing on the sale is expected soon. Four undeveloped acres adjacent to North Sherman Street are not part of the sale package to Treetop.


Attorneys for Stacey Goodson, who filed a wrongful death lawsuit Wednesday against the realty company and its management company, Park Management Inc., over the death of her daughter, Shantique Goodson, filed an injunction request to protect assets of the realty company.


At a hearing Wednesday before President Judge Thomas F. Burke Jr., Goodson’s attorneys, Patrick J. Doyle and Jamie J. Anzalone, asked for $1 million be placed in an escrow account by Sherman Hills Realty. They initially sought $16 million in escrow.


Doyle and Anzalone filed for a preliminary injunction not to delay the sale of the apartment complex, but to protect assets in case Goodson is successful in her wrongful death suit.


Shantique Goodson, 27, died from gunshot wounds she suffered while sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle that was idling in the apartment complex on Nov. 27. Kenneth Malik Evans III, 21, of South Sherman Street, Wilkes-Barre, was charged in the killing.


During Wednesday’s testimony, Eli Dovidowitz, an officer of Sherman Hills Realty and an employee with Park Management, said Shantique Goodson and Evans were banned from the apartment complex.


Dovidowitz, who said his responsibilities are the day-to-day operations and finances of the apartment complex, said Goodson was evicted for “criminal activity” and Evans was rejected when he filed a tenant application and eventually banned for criminal activity.


Dovidowitz frequently referred the special detail program — off-duty Wilkes-Barre police officers — as the apartment complex’s main security force. He said no more than two off-duty officers provide security for 20 shifts.


Records obtained by The Times Leader in a right-to-know request last year indicate off-duty officers normally provide security at the apartment complex on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.


Shantique Goodson was shot on a Wednesday.


Doyle said the injunction request to protect assets was sought in the event Sherman Hills “umbrella insurance policy” does not cover damages if the lawsuit is successful.


At the end of the hearing, attorney John T. Zelinka, representing Sherman Hills Realty, said the company will place $900,000 in an escrow account until a decision by Burke.


Burke said he will issue a decision on Monday.


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