Family Conflict over Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Georgia

July 5, 2012
by Sammons & Carpenter, P.C.

There are few things more tragic than losing a loved one. It is even sadder when that tragic and unnecessary death causes further conflict. That seems to be the case with a Georgia wrongful death lawsuit over the death of Rusty Sneiderman.

Mr. Sneiderman was shot and killed in front of a Dunwoody day care in November 2010. He had just dropped off his son and was returning to his car when Hemy Neuman drove up in a rented van and shot Mr. Sneiderman several times. Neuman was Mr. Sneiderman's wife Andrea's boss. Neuman was convicted of murder in March of this year and is now serving a life sentence.

The further complications arose between the slain man's brother and wife. His brother, Steven, alleges that Andrea Sneiderman was having an affair with Neuman and was involved in planning Mr. Sneiderman's murder. She denies it. DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James referred to Mrs. Sneiderman as a co-conspirator, but no charges have been filed against her to date. He said they had strong "beliefs", but thus far could not prove her involvement beyond a reasonable doubt as required for a criminal conviction.

In May, Steven Sneiderman filed a wrongful death lawsuit against her and Mr. Neuman, as the executor of Mr. Sneiderman's estate and "next friend" to the Sneiderman's children. The suit alleges Andrea Sneiderman "utilized her illicit relationship with her co-conspirator to manipulate and influence him to murder Rusty Sneiderman." She claimed Steve Sneiderman has no legal standing to sue on his brother's behalf. handgun (RonG).jpg

In response, in June, Mrs. Sneiderman petitioned the DeKalb County Probate Court to remove Steven as executor of the estate. She also petitioned a court in Fulton County to grant her conservatorship of her two young children, which would give her control over their legal matters. These are important, because Georgia law states that the right to sue for wrongful death first vests in the spouse, then in the children. Only if there is not a spouse or children can the parents, and then the estate, of the decedent file a wrongful death suit. So if Steven is removed as executor, he would have no avenue for standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Georgia.

In June, Mrs. Sneiderman also filed her own wrongful death lawsuit against Mr. Neuman alone, claiming he acted alone in shooting and killing her husband. Her suit states that she denies either negligently or intentionally causing or contributing to her husband's death. She also filed a defamation lawsuit against Steven Sneiderman.

The above story is an exceptionally contentious and complicated case of criminal accusations and civil lawsuits. But wrongful death cases can be fraught with conflicting interests and complications, and legal help is necessary. If your family has suffered a loss, our experienced Atlanta wrongful death attorneys at Sammons & Carpenter, PC can assist you with legal avenues. Call us today at 404-814-8949, or fill out our confidential online case evaluation form for a free consultation.

See Our Related Blog Posts:
Georgia Wrongful Death Claim in 2010 Police Shooting

ICE Detainee's Widow Files Georgia Wrongful Death Suit

(Photo courtesy of RonG)