Saturday, February 14, 2015

One Year After Five Children Perish In Valentine's Day Fire, There Is A Trustee For The Children But No Court Activity Since July Of 2014...But Former Tenant Dianna Jones Settled Lawsuit Last Week!

Image of Honorable Cara Lee Neville used on State Courts
website, therefore no copyright as a government document, 
blog post by John Hoff  

It was one year ago, exactly, when a Valentine's Day fire claimed the lives of five of the children of Troy Lewis in a property owned by landlord Paul Bertelson.

Two children who survived the fire were reportedly placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.  Mainstream media predicted a lawsuit and then other media outside of Minneapolis picked up the same refrain but so far...

...there hasn't been any court activity since the summer of last year. 

Except, it should be noted, by a FORMER tenant of the same duplex, Dianna Jones. More on that in a moment. What HAS happened in the courts is the appointment of a trustee on behalf of the estates of the five deceased children. Their names are in the online court record and appear eerily like names on a memorial, as follows:

DecedentLewis, Christopher Sinclar
DOB: 11/22/2005

DecedentLewis, Fannie Terry
DOB: 09/04/2009

DecedentLewis, Mary Louise
DOB: 02/23/2007

DecedentLewis, Troy, V
DOB: 09/10/2010

DecedentLonnell Lewis, Gwenddyn Honey  Also Known As  Lewis, Gwenddyn Honey Lonnell
DOB: 07/24/2012


The appointment of a trustee was a preliminary step to a lawsuit, though it's possible the matter might be settled instead of decided in the courts; particularly since there is an objective and experienced trustee representing the estates, the Honorable (Retired) Judge Cara Lee Neville. 

In the trustee appointment matter, this came before the court on Mary 22, 2014. There was a minor flurry of filings, but only a month later (June 26) the matter was closed and a trustee had been appointed. On July 2, 2014 something entitled "Petition, Other" was filed with that court.

05/22/2014  Case Filed
05/22/2014  Petition-Other
05/22/2014  Acceptance and Oath
05/22/2014  Proposed Order or Document
05/22/2014  Notice of Case Assignment
05/22/2014  Notice of Case Assignment
06/26/2014  Motion Hearing  (1:30 PM) (Judicial Officer Sheehy, Kathleen D.)
Result: Held
06/26/2014  Other Document
06/26/2014  Other Document
06/26/2014  Other Document
06/26/2014  Notice of Hearing by Publication
06/26/2014  Taken Under Advisement       Doc ID# 2 (Judicial Officer: Sheehy, Kathleen D. )
06/26/2014  Order-Other       Doc ID# 1
06/26/2014  Case Closed
07/02/2014  Petition-Other       Doc ID# 3

Is THAT the lawsuit petition on 07/02/2014? 

It seems unlikely since there has been NO ACTIVITY ON THE DOCKET since that date, and a lawsuit would almost surely cause more activity. UNLESS the only activity involved people talking settlement and investigators investigating...which is ENTIRELY possible. Mainstream media coverage seems to imply there is a meticulous investigation, and it's entirely possible the lawyers for both sides are awaiting slow, methodical results. 

Meanwhile, a former tenant of the same duplex, Dianna Shonville Jones, (musical tribute link) filed a lawsuit shortly after the fire and the matter was settled just last week, on February 6, 2015. The docket shows a whole bunch of "Affidavit--Other" filings. If these represent written statements by individuals who saw the conditions at 2818 Colfax Avenue North--and odds are that's exactly what these affidavits are, they sure ain't affidavits for service--then the Jones case would be a treasure trove of information about the conditions the children of Troy Lewis endured before the fatal fire on Valentine's Day, 2014.

Some mainstream media person who actually makes money to do this kind of thing should go dig into that court file. 

(Brandon! Cough cough) 

I'm just saying. 

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