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Landlord sued for party without permit, wrongful death of teen

The tragic death of Cyprus Springs student has left has parents looking for answers and wanting justice. After their son was killed in a Southwest-Houston foam party, the family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the property owner and resident of the home that was the location of the party.

According to the complaint, the owner was negligent in holding a party without a permit and failing to provide adequate security. The 18-year-old was shot over spring break at the party in the Houston neighborhood.

There were nearly 600 attendees at the party which was held at a space commonly known as "The Ranch" or "The Mansion" and rented out for parties. When the police arrived after a noise disturbance complaint, someone opened fire and shot the teen, who died later of the gunshot wound. The shooter has not been caught or arrested.

A wrongful death claim is a legal action that can be taken against any individual or entity for negligence that results in a fatality. Premises liability claims can be pursued against negligent property owners who have a duty to maintain their premises and ensure that anyone who enters is safe from harm. In this case, the court will assess whether the owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition and failed to protect the victim of the shooting.

The burden of proof is lower in a civil claim that in a criminal matter. In this case, the court will weigh the evidence to determine if negligence was more likely than not, rather than the "beyond reasonable doubt" standard in a criminal case.

Source: Cyprus Creek Mirror, "Parents of Cyprus Springs senior shot over spring break file lawsuit," May 1, 2012.

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