Tort Law

Lawyer Sued Over Shooting by Elderly Client; Complaint Alleges He Should Have Warned Authorities

A Florida lawyer has been named as a defendant in a personal injury lawsuit seeking damages over a shooting in another state by an elderly client.

Attorney David Gilmore should have anticipated that his client, Thomas Kyros, 81, posed a danger to Georgia Smith and her young adult daughter, Promethea Pythaitha, and warned local authorities after Kyros took up residence in a hotel in Bozeman, contends an amended complaint.It was filed Friday in federal court in Montana.

Kyros, a Greek immigrant who formerly lived in New Port Richey, Fla., became obsessed with Pythaitha, who was well-known in the Greek community as a child prodigy who graduated from Montana State University in 2005 at age 14, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported at the time.. He shot and seriously injured Smith at home, in front of her daughter, in mid-January and was subsequently killed by authorities in a standoff following the crime, according to the Associated Press and the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

“Gilmore had sufficient information to provide local law enforcement with information regarding his client to prevent Mr. Kyros from committing a crime, or to prevent a death or substantial bodily harm to another, including Mr. Kyros himself,” the lawsuit contends. It alleges that Gilmore knew his client was in Montana, was “insane” and that the attorney “had in his possession information regarding Mr. Kyros’ animosity towards Ms. Smith and Mr. Kyros’ many ruminations about her death.”

The Daily Chronicle article doesn’t include any comment from Gilmore about the lawsuit, which also names the estate as a defendant and seeks compensatory and punitive damages for the physical injuries and emotional stress the two women suffered as a result of the shooting. A message left at Gilmore’s office by the ABA Journal seeking comment this afternoon did not receive an immediate response.

A St. Petersburg Times article about the claims against Gilmore provides additional details.

A similar duty-to-warn theory of liability has been used in some lawsuits against mental health professionals treating potentially dangerous patients who threaten identifiable third parties.

Related coverage: “The New Tarasoff? 6th Circuit OKs Hospital Suit Over Ax-Wielding Ex-Patient” “Judge OKs Duty-to-Warn Suits in Va. Tech Shootings, Nixes Immunity Claim”

Bozeman Daily Chronicle: “Kyros autopsy completed, offers no surprises”

Updated on Oct. 19 to link to subsequent St. Petersburg Times article.

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