Santa Barbara Stabbing Victim Sues Parents of Perpetrator

Santa Barbara Stabbing Victim Sues Parents of Perpetrator title=
The Vides family home on the Mesa is where 18-year-old Cora stabbed a Laguna Blanca classmate with a switchblade she’d recently received for her birthday. | Credit: Courtesy
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This story was originally published by the Santa Barbara Independent and is reproduced here in partnership with Edhat.


By Tyler Hayden of The Independent

Laguna Blanca School graduate Georgia Avery is suing the parents of former classmate and friend Cora Vides for negligence after Vides tried to kill Avery last February in what attorneys have described as a “mentally deranged” attack

Avery’s identity, not previously disclosed, is revealed in the eight-page civil complaint filed in Santa Barbara Superior Court. She is represented by Los Angeles attorney Robert Stoll, who in 2014 secured a $2.5 million settlement for the family of Mallory Dies after Dies was hit and killed by congressional staffer Raymond Morua in a drunk driving accident.

Avery’s lawsuit alleges that Vides’s parents, Joshua and Patti Jeanne, knew of their daughter’s “mental illness and schizophrenic disorder” ― which had allegedly manifested in “prior incidents where Cora Vides had threatened and actually used sharp objects on herself and others” ― when they gave her a switchblade for her 18th birthday on February 8. Switchblades with blades longer than two inches are illegal to own in California. The blade of Cora’s knife was reportedly three to four inches long.

Just a few days later, on February 13, Cora used the knife to stab Avery in the neck, nearly severing her vocal cords. They were both Laguna Blanca seniors at the time and close friends who attended art club together. Avery survived but with “severe, gruesome, and permanent” injuries, the lawsuit states, both physical and emotional.

Immediately after the attack, which occurred in the Vides family home while Joshua and Patti Jeanne slept, Cora confessed to police she was compelled to stab her friend by a mysterious “bad feeling” that she was “powerless” to control. Cora was charged with attempted murder and is currently out on $1 million bail. Her criminal case remains in its early stages.

In legal strategy that mainly targets Joshua and Patti Jeanne ― likely because their assets, not Cora’s, would be able to cover the substantial punitive damages that will be demanded ― Avery and attorney Stoll are arguing that Cora was so mentally ill at the time that she “did not know what she was doing was wrong.” Her parents bear the responsibility for the crime, they claim, as they failed to protect Avery from the actions of their “dangerous” and “disabled” daughter. Joshua is a finance director for Microsoft and, in addition to their home on the Mesa, the family owns a second house in Sammamish, Washington.

The Vides family recently filed a motion to delay the lawsuit until Cora’s criminal case concludes. In a tentative ruling handed down this week, Judge Colleen Sterne agreed that Cora has the right against self-incrimination, which would be infringed upon in the criminal matter if she were required to provide information during the discovery phase of the civil action. Any lawsuit proceedings against Cora will be paused, Strene ruled, but the complaint may proceed against her parents, she said.

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a-1632246989 Sep 21, 2021 10:56 AM
Santa Barbara Stabbing Victim Sues Parents of Perpetrator

FOND, this isn't about what happened during the attempted murder, no one is denying those facts. This is a civil suit against her parents hinged on the argument that they are liable because they gave her a knife for her birthday when they allegedly knew she was having mental health concerns.

sacjon Sep 21, 2021 11:11 AM
Santa Barbara Stabbing Victim Sues Parents of Perpetrator

5:53 - sadly, it's really telling that you got 2 people to disagree with you about letting the court make decisions of law and the jury make those of fact. Some here demand instant gratification, which is truly contrary to our system of justice, thankfully. Yes, pronouncing guilt or, in this case, liability on the part of the parents based solely on what the plaintiff's attorney has said, is both premature and immature.

Byzantium Sep 21, 2021 09:51 AM
Santa Barbara Stabbing Victim Sues Parents of Perpetrator

Since lawyers like suing easy payers best, I wonder what are the upper limits of the homeowners insurance policy. No questions damages occurred and monetary compensation is perfectly appropriate and well-justified. It is just that too many tort lawyers are in a mutual feeding frenzy along with insurance companies who don't mind an occasional high ticket payout to justify higher limits and premiums, which is not the same as being motivated by higher principles which this case deserves. Will this case settle quietly between lawyer and insurance company or will it become a high profile public trial in civil court. What is happening on the criminal charges?

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