Rondini v. Bunn

Full title: MICHAEL W. RONDINI, et al., Plaintiffs, v. TERRY J. BUNN, Defendant.

Court: UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA WESTERN DIVISION

Case No.: 7:17-cv-01114-RDP

Date published: Jan 13, 2020

Fact:

  • Plaintiffs Michael and Cynthia Rondini have sued Defendant Terry J. Bunn, Jr., alleging claims arising from the alleged sexual assault of their daughter, Megan Rondini, and her subsequent suicide.
  • On July 1, 2015, 20-year-old Megan met Defendant at a Tuscaloosa pub. Defendant, who was 34 at the time, drove Megan first to her apartment, where they drank alcohol, and then to his residence in Cottondale, Alabama.
  • Once inside Defendant’s house, Megan stated that Defendant asked her to go upstairs to his bedroom. Megan expressed reluctance, but Defendant persisted, making sexual advances.
  • Megan’s version of events suggests that she felt pressured into sexual activity, while Defendant claims the encounter was consensual.
  • Megan became distressed while Defendant was asleep and attempted to leave. She texted her friends for help, indicating she felt trapped. Eventually, she jumped out of a second-story window to escape.
  • Megan later reported to medical personnel and the Tuscaloosa Sheriff’s Department that she had been raped and underwent a rape examination at the hospital.
  • Police officers spoke with Defendant, who denied Megan’s presence at his residence during the previous evening.
  • Megan was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and anxiety stemming from PTSD, leading to her withdrawal from the University of Alabama and subsequent treatment.
  • Megan’s mental health struggles continued, and she filled out a Health History Form at SMU Health Clinic, reporting suicidal thoughts and attributing them to her history of PTSD, depression, and anxiety following the sexual assault.
  • On the morning of February 26, 2016, Megan committed suicide.
  • Plaintiffs filed a Fourth Amended Complaint alleging wrongful death, claiming that Defendant unlawfully detained and imprisoned Megan against her will and intended to cause her harm through forceful and intentional rape.

Issue:

Conclusion:

For the reasons stated above, Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 121) is due to be administratively terminated and this case is due to be stayed pending certification to the Supreme Court of Alabama the question of whether suicide is an intervening cause that breaks the chain of causation stemming from a defendant’s intentional tort. An Order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion will be entered.

DONE and ORDERED 

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