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TheStreet Open House

Hawaii Court Rules In Case Of Woman's Duct Death

By JENNIFER SINCO KELLEHER

HONOLULU (AP) â¿¿ A Honolulu mall had an obligation to care for a pregnant woman after she got stuck in an exhaust duct at the shopping center in 2005 and later died, even if she was trespassing on its roof, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled.

The opinion issued Thursday also upheld parts of a lower court's ruling in favor of the mall, finding Ala Moana Center couldn't be held liable for failing to anticipate that the woman would sneak onto the roof and end up in the vent. The case now goes back to Circuit Court.

The family of Jasmine Rose Anne Fry, 22, filed a wrongful death lawsuit, claiming Ala Moana was negligent and failed to care for Fry and her unborn baby.

Fry was six- to eight-weeks pregnant when she somehow accessed the roof, squeezed into the duct above the food court, and got trapped in a stove hood, according to the Supreme Court's opinion. The medical examiner determined she was suffering a psychotic episode, based on information about the circumstances leading to her death.

The ruling said Fry died of hyperthermia after rescuers removed her from the duct.

"We are very happy that we are going to get our day in court," Myles Breiner, one of the family's attorneys, said Friday. "We can resume litigation and get this matter before a jury."

The high court said the shopping center "had a duty to exercise reasonable care to control those factors to prevent them for doing harm to Fry, even if she was a trespasser."

A maintenance worker found Fry on the roof, barefoot and dressed in shorts and a tank top. She had grease smeared on her feet, hands, hair and face, and told the worker she was a contractor hired to clean grease from an exhaust fan.

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