Tort Law

Federal Judge Nixes Duty-to-Warn Case Against Lawyer by Victims of Elderly Client's Shooting Attack

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Updated: A federal judge in Helena is pushing the estate of an elderly Florida retiree to settle the tort case brought by a Montana woman and her daughter after he became obsessed with the girl, drove to her home more than 2,000 miles away and attacked the mother outside their house despite a court protective order.

Thomas Kyros, 81, died in a shootout with authorities responding to the scene on Jan. 17, 2011. Before Promethea Pythaitha, then 19, covered her mother’s body with her own to stop the onslaught, Kyros fired five rounds at Georgia Smith, leaving her with injuries that will allegedly required lifetime medical care, reports the Great Falls Tribune.

Because the amount sought in damages exceeds the value of the estate, which is being diminished by legal fees, a settlement would be in the interest of both sides, according to U.S. District Judge Charles Lovell, who has ordered the parties into settlement talks.

He also refused to allow the plaintiffs to proceed with a duty-to-warn case against Florida attorney David Gilmore, finding that he had no way to know that Smith and her daughter were in danger from Kyros, the newspaper reports.

Gilmore drafted a will for Kyros, in which he gave two-thirds of his estate to Pythaitha, a math genius who had already graduated from Montana State University after barely making it into her teens. Meanwhile, a provision in the document said she couldn’t collect while her mother was living, explains a subsequent Associated Press article.

Kyros reportedly felt that Pythaitha’s mother was holding her back and should, among other things, have sent her to an Ivy League college.

Earlier coverage: “Lawyer Sued Over Shooting by Elderly Client; Complaint Alleges He Should Have Warned Authorities”

Updated on April 25 to include subsequent Associated Press coverage.

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