Wrongful Death Decision

By: Eric James
By: Eric James

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It took a Sedgwick County jury less than two hours to find a local restoration company not guilty in the death of a Goddard school teacher.

The family of Janice Vredenburg filed a wrongful death suit against National Catastrophe Restoration Company. The man who killed her worked for that company.

Lawyers for both sides say this case has exposed a number of issues. First, the parole system didn't do its job. Second, companies need to do background checks before sending people into your home.

There was a lack of emotion in the courtroom as the verdict was read. Tears were shed, but tempers held back.

At stake, a family busines with a 30 year history in Wichita. All because Tanner Green, a convicted murderer lied about his criminal background, and his parole officer didn't divulge the true nature of Green's past to NCRI when they hired him.

Green was fired the week before the murder, but police believe he used his uniform from NCRI to gain access to Vredenburg's home. That was the basis of the lawsuit.

The plaintiff's attorney, Chris Patterson says, "We are dumbfounded we though this case was a clear cut case. "

Defense Attorney Gary Austerman says, "We were confident but apprehensive as in any case we presented the evidence and we are happy that the jury listened."

The Vredenburg's lawyers say this case was never about money, in fact the family was offered a settlement. They say all they wanted to do was expose the fact that you never know who is coming into your home, especially when companies don't do in-depth background checks.

The Vredenburg family does not plan to appeal today's decision.


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