Jury Awards Widower $24 Million after Florida Drunk Driver Kills Wife

On Wednesday, a Fort Lauderdale jury awarded a man $24 million in a personal injury lawsuit after his wife and unborn son were killed when a drunk driver crashed into a hotel pool cabana.

According to a report from a local NBC affiliate, Alanna DeMella of Massachusetts was seven months pregnant and on vacation in Florida with her husband, Michael DeMella, when a drunk driver crashed into the pool cabana at the Fort Lauderdale hotel and killed her. The couple had won the 2012 vacation through their church.

Rosa Rivera Kim had a .24 blood alcohol level (more than three times the legal limit) when she took a curve in the road too quickly and crashed into the cabana, killing Alanna and her unborn son who was to be named Joshua. The jury found that Kim was 85 percent responsible for Alanna’s death and she was sentenced to 15 years in prison in January.

The Riverside Hotel in Fort Lauderdale was found to be 15 percent liable and was ordered to pay $3.6 million of the penalty. A lawyer representing Mr. DeMella conducted a traffic study on the hotel’s street and proved that excessive speeding is a regular occurrence on Sagamore Street. After uncovering letters written to the city by concerned employees calling the street “a race track” and records of hotel safety meetings about the dangerous street, the Mr. DeMella’s team was able to prove that the hotel knew the road was unsafe and failed to protect guests. The hotel released a statement in which they hinted at a potential appeal of this decision.

When residents of Florida suffer tragic losses or devastating injuries in car accidents, they know to trust our experienced personal injury attorneys as they pursue justice. To learn more about potential compensation from a wrongful death or auto accident lawsuit, we invite you to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a compassionate and knowledgeable member of our team.

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