In Florida wrongful death news comes a suit from yet another alligator attack. The son of a woman who was eaten by a 12-foot alligator in a Davie, Florida park filed a wrongful death lawsuit claiming town officials neglected to act on reports of gator activity at the property before the tragedy struck. In so many words, it blames the town for the gator attack.
So What Happened
According to court documents, Katana Sato’s (the one filing suit) mother, Shizuka Matsuki, was walking her dogs at Silver Lakes Rotary Nature Park in June 2018 when she was fatally attacked by the alligator.
Local police found her dogs wandering the park, with no trace of their owner. It was the main sign that something was wrong. When the gator was eventually trapped, it was internally examined, and authorities determined that Matsuki had been killed and partially consumed by the dangerous reptile.
Details of the Suit
Sato filed his wrongful death suit claiming the town of Davie, which operates the Silver Lakes Park, did not give visitors “sufficient notice or warning” that there had been gator sightings on the premises.
He says the town had been advised “on multiple occasions prior to this incident that there was at least one alligator in or near” the park’s waters. Town officials failed to take action to address the gator problem, the lawsuit states.
The wrongful death complaint was filed in Broward County Circuit Court by the estate’s attorney, John Getz with the law firm Morales & Cerino.
According to the lawsuit, Davie denied liability for the incident in an October 2018 letter. Davie sits roughly 10 miles east of a vast stretch of protected Florida wetlands, where the alligator population is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.
The town has not responded to a request for comment on whether, at the time of Matsuki’s death, signs were posted to warn visitors about gator sightings around the park.
The Palm Beach Post reported that a string of alligator removal permits for Silver Lakes Park were issued but not carried out in the decade leading up to the incident.
Who Was Shizuka Matsuki
Matsuki, the woman whom the alligator attacked, was a nature enthusiast, lover of reggae music and longtime South Florida resident who had moved to Florida from Japan in the mid-1990s.
Matsuki’s death was one of less than a dozen reported and confirmed fatal alligator attacks in the U.S. over the last four years, according to the Charles Darwin University-funded CrocBite database. It was one of the highest-profile gator attacks in Florida since a 2-year-old boy was dragged to his death at Disney’s Magic Kingdom resort area in 2016.
Wrongful death suits over alligator attacks are rare. However, sometimes there is a guilty party involved in these situations. We here at The Law Offices of Attorney Morgan McGrath handle all wrongful death cases and we are located in West Palm Beach, Florida, and covering the entire Palm Beach County area. Our office also practices and handles cases including: personal injury, wills & trusts, and even criminal law. If you are in the Palm Beach area or anywhere in South Florida for that matter, and you need legal services in any of the following areas that were previously mentioned, you should contact the office of Attorney Morgan McGrath today. They have people standing by to set up a free in-office consultation to discuss your case.