When a person dies as the result of another’s negligence, Massachusetts law permits the victim’s survivors to recover damages on behalf of their deceased loved one in a wrongful death action. The beneficiaries entitled to receive damages for a married decedent are the spouse and any children, while beneficiaries receiving damages for an unmarried decedent are the next of kin. Next of kin are most often the decedent’s parents or close siblings. Like any case based on negligence, the plaintiff must be able to prove four elements to recover in a wrongful death case. These four elements are duty, breach, causation and damages. Essentially, the decedent’s beneficiaries must prove that the defendant owed their loved one a duty, and that a breach of that duty caused the decedent’s death.
Elaine Hatfield Redwine has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her ex-husband, Mark Redwine, following the death of their thirteen-year-old son. Their son, Dylan Redwine, had been visiting his father on a court-ordered visit on November 12, 2012, when he mysteriously disappeared. A massive search ensued, and an excruciating eighteen months later, police and search crews uncovered some of Dylan’s remains. The remains were located just three miles from Mark Redwine’s Vallecito, Colorado home on Middle Mountain. It took search crews over a year, climbing steep terrain on their hands and knees, before they located evidence of the boy’s death.
A year after the boy’s disappearance, before evidence of his death had been located, Dylan’s mother spoke out at a memorial service accusing her husband. Immediately following the disappearance, she blamed her ex-husband for the boy’s disappearance and told family and friends that she believed Mark had killed their son.
Two and a half years after her son’s partial remains were located, Dylan’s mother has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mark Redwine. Under Colorado law, a parent has a duty to provide proper parental care for a child. According to her lawsuit, Mark breached that duty when his actions lead to the death of their thirteen-year-old son. Elaine is also seeking damages for loss of consortium resulting from the loss of her son. She is seeking a full twelve-member jury trial. Presently, any possible criminal action is still under investigation. The Durango Herald reached out to Mark Redwine to ask about the pending lawsuit. He indicated that he had not heard of the lawsuit yet.