A Tampa law firm has filed a lawsuit against an apartment complex management company in the wake of 7-year-old Zhanaye Williams’ death.
Swope, Rodante P.A. filed the suit this week on behalf of Williams’ estate, according to court documents. The complaint is against Brookside Tampa LLC, which manages Brookside Apartments, and Franklin Street Apartment Management Services. It alleges wrongful death and seeks damages in excess of $15,000, but doesn’t specify an amount.
According to the Tampa Police Department, Williams was killed when a gate fell on top of her at Brookside Apartments, 5008 Sierra Place. She was taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital where she later died from her injuries. The accident occurred April 11.
Williams was a student at Riverhills Elementary School, which had a crisis team visit that day to help students cope with the death of their friend.
Residents of the apartment complex had previously complained about the gate, which was broken and, at times, left hanging by a single chain, according to a Swope, Rodante P.A. press release.
“This was a horrible tragedy that should have been prevented, and we look forward to helping the family of Zhanaye Williams seek the justice they deserve,” said Marc Matthews, an attorney at Swope, Rodante P.A., in the release.
The firm will also represent Williams’ brother, who was at the scene and has claims related to the incident, according to the complaint.
A phone message left at Brookside Apartments requesting comment was not immediately returned.
Update: 7-Year-Old’s Death Under Investigation