The world is still devastated over the death of Whitney Houston’s precious young daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown. The 22-year-old lost her life in late July after spending several months in hospice, and questions still linger around the suspicious circumstances of her passing.
Some of those questions are pointed at Brown’s boyfriend, 25-year-old Nick Gordon, currently an official “person of interest” in what police are calling a homicide investigation.
The Strange Circumstances of Bobbi Kristina Brown’s Death
The late diva’s daughter was found unconscious in late January and rushed to the hospital for emergency care — circumstances eerily similar to those of her own mother’s death almost exactly three years prior.
Authorities still aren’t sure what caused her to lose consciousness, but she slipped into a coma and never recovered. She remained in critical care until her death.
What we do know is that Gordon is the one who found Brown (along with his friend), and she was in the home they shared. Authorities want to know where he was prior to that, how Brown died, whether drugs were involved (as Gordon has suggested), who might have given her those drugs, and whether Gordon stood to gain anything from her death.
Complicating matters is the enormous Whitney Houston estate, which the superstar left to her daughter in lock, stock, and barrel. The Brown/Houston family is famously fractured, especially concerning their estates, and Gordon may now claim an interest. He insists that he and Brown married shortly before her coma, but the family has disputed that assertion.
Police consider Gordon a person of interest in their criminal investigation, but they have not named him a suspect and he has not been charged with any crime.
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How Florida Wrongful Death Law Works
Wrongful death is an area of civil law that allows certain close family members to recover financial compensation from anyone whose negligence contributed to their loss. While the Bobbi Kristina case will likely be handled in California, wrongful death compensation is available in every state (though with certain key variances in application of the law from one state to the next).
Florida’s wrongful death law requires the plaintiffs to prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim and then breached that duty — either by acting negligently or perhaps failing to act in a responsible way — and that this breach of duty contributed to the death.
It’s important to note that the burden of proof is much lower in a wrongful death case than in a criminal homicide case. So while it remains to be seen whether prosecutors will have a criminal case against Nick Gordon “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the Houston family would find it easier to win their civil suit against him based on wrongful death.
Indeed, the family is widely expected to seek wrongful death damages in the case. Their chances of success depend on evidence still to be determined, but they are likely to have a jury’s sympathy.
Bobbi Kristina’s passing is a true tragedy — a devastating chapter in an already heartbreaking story. Our hearts go out to everyone in the Brown and Houston families. As Orlando wrongful death attorneys, we hope this case helps readers better understand the gravity of a wrongful death claim and its distinction from a criminal charge. As far as Florida’s wrongful death law is concerned, the most important things to know are:
- Wrongful death is a civil lawsuit, totally separate from any possible criminal proceedings.
- Under Florida’s wrongful death law, close family members can sometimes recover significant financial compensation for their losses. This is true in any death caused by negligence — even when no foul play is involved.
- Wrongful death cases have a much lower burden of proof than criminal death cases.
If you and your family have recently lost a loved one and need help understanding your rights, the experienced Orlando wrongful death attorneys at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help. Contact us for a free consultation right away.