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AA dismissed as defendant in Brada wrongful death lawsuit

Posted: January 13, 2016 6:48 p.m.
Updated: January 13, 2016 6:48 p.m.
Eric Earle, left, and Karla Brada. Brada's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AA because the couple met at AA meetings. Earle was convicted of murdering Brada, his live-in girlfriend, in 2014. A judge this week dismissed the case against AA.  Eric Earle, left, and Karla Brada. Brada's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AA because the couple met at AA meetings. Earle was convicted of murdering Brada, his live-in girlfriend, in 2014. A judge this week dismissed the case against AA. 
Eric Earle, left, and Karla Brada. Brada's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against AA because the couple met at AA meetings. Earle was convicted of murdering Brada, his live-in girlfriend, in 2014. A judge this week dismissed the case against AA. 
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Parents of a Saugus woman murdered in 2011 sued Alcoholics Anonymous when they learned she met her killer through AA.

Hector and Jaroslava Mendez of Sylmar said they were seeking justice for their murdered daughter, Karla Brada, when they filed a wrongful death lawsuit. But on Tuesday they learned the list of defendants named in the lawsuit no longer includes the organization they believe could have prevented her death.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Rita J. Miller dismissed the Mendez lawsuit Tuesday against the General Service Board of Alcoholics Anonymous Inc. and Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. on Tuesday.

A San Fernando Superior Court jury found Eric Earle guilty in 2014 of murdering Brada by willfully and deliberately smothering her to death between the night of Aug. 31, 2011, and the morning of Sept. 1, 2011, inside the couple’s Saugus condominium. He was sentenced in 2014 to 26 years in prison.

For Brada’s parents, AA was to blame for failing to prevent the murder because Brada met Earle at AA meetings.

And, while their lawsuit continues against other defendants named — Earle himself and Brada’s AA sponsors — the two most prominent defendants representing AA headquarters were officially dismissed from the case.

The news was bittersweet for the lawyer who has struggled to hold AA accountable for the circumstances he believed led to Brada’s death.

“We’re disappointed that they let the New York AA out of the suit,” Valencia attorney John W. Noland said Wednesday.

“California law isn’t supportive of civil rights,” he said. “If this case had been heard in a different state, They (AA) might not have been released.”

Lawyers representing Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. announced in December 2014 they would fight the lawsuit, claiming there was no basis for it. They filed two court motions to stop it going any further — a demurrer and a motion to quash.

AA lawyers argued that defendants, including AA World Services and a local couple identified by Brada’s parents as their daughter’s personal AA sponsors, owed Brada nothing.

In November, the Los Angeles Superior Court agreed.

The tentative decision to drop the suit’s two most prominent names from the list of defendants was made on Nov. 20, 2015, when Judge Miller sustained the demurrer.

The tentative decision reads: “The court is inclined to sustain the demurrer without leave to amend as to defendants General Service Board of Alcoholic Anonymous Inc. and Alcoholics Anonymous World Services Inc. and take motion to quash service off calendar as moot.”

That decision was filed with the Superior Court of California, county of Los Angeles, on Dec. 9, 2015. On Tuesday it was signed by the judge and filed.

“It’s still continuing,” Noland said about the lawsuit. “But it’s a long row to hoe.”

According to Brada’s parents, AA World Services Inc. was “a parent, subsidiary, affiliate, alter ego, partner, agent, franchisee, licensee, employee, employer, controlling franchiser, controlling licensor, principal ... who failed to prevent such acts when having the power and/or duty to do so.”

Lawyers representing AA World Services disagree and argue in their court motions they breached no duty owed to Brada.

They state in their demurrer: “Plaintiffs do not (and cannot) plead defendants owed a duty to Ms. Brada.”

jimh@signalscv.com
661-287-5527
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

 

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