Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Kocis vs. Cuadra & Kerekes

After yesterday's surprise court filing by Bryan Kocis' father Michael... we're now given a little more information about the wrongful death suit against accused murder suspects Harlow Cuadra and Joseph Kerekes:

According to the Times Leader: Michael Kocis’ attorney, Conrad Falvello, said he’s unsure whether the suspects have any assets to recover for damages, but the family has a “fiduciary duty to at least pursue” that and see “if there are any assets that may be recoverable.”

“It was not something the family just wanted to give up on,” he said. “We’re going after them.”

The suit, filed in Luzerne County Court of Common Pleas, claims Cuadra and Kerekes entered Bryan Kocis’ home and “jointly” or “separately” caused Bryan Kocis’ death and destroyed the home and property.

The home, from which Bryan Kocis operated his business, had a fair market value of at least $170,000, and the personal property and other contents had a fair market value of at least $150,000, the suit said.

The death, the suit said, was caused by the “carelessness, recklessness, negligence, and/or wanton disregard for” Bryan Kocis.

“(Bryan Kocis) was caused to die from the fatal injuries sustained at the hands of the defendants,” Falvello wrote in the suit.

The Kocis family has incurred many bills and suffered from mental and physical pain, suffering and anguish, the suit said.

Meanwhile the Citizen's Voice reports: “It’s just something they felt obligated to pursue,” said Conrad Falvello, Michael Kocis’ lawyer. “We don’t know what we’re going to get. We don’t know yet if (Cuadra and Kerekes) have any money, or any insurance.”

The filing of a civil suit alongside a murder trial is rare, said John Pike, one of three court-appointed lawyers representing Kerekes.

According to court documents, the family is seeking damages to cover income Bryan Kocis would have made running his Cobra Video Web site had he not been killed, funeral expenses the destruction of his home and possessions inside as well as the cost of the civil suit.

Many of the assets Cuadra and Kerekes shared in Virginia Beach — including a business account totaling $26,000, a Dodge Viper, Chevrolet Corvette, Honda Civic and a BMW — were forfeited to the Commonwealth of Virginia in August in an unrelated racketeering case.

The two were left with only their $500,000 home, which at the time of the forfeiture held a hefty mortgage.

Falvello would not identify any sort of goal for the suit, but court documents filed by him Monday morning list the combined fair market value of the destroyed house and possessions inside as $320,000.

It is unclear who will defend Cuadra and Kerekes in the suit. Both men are represented by court-appointed attorneys in their criminal case.