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Date: 10-06-2003

Case Style: Estate of Karen Sawyer v. B.I., Inc.

Case Number: Unknown9/29/03

Judge: Terry Means

Court: United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas

Plaintiff's Attorney:

Joe Gregory of Gregory & Gregory, Grapevine, Texas

Defendant's Attorney:

Charles W. Fillmore, The Fillmore Law Firm, L.L.P., Fort Worth, Texas

Description: Wrongful death claim by the family of Karen Sawyer who was killed by Joseph Whitlow before he killed himself. Whitlow was fitted with a B.I., Inc. ankle monitor but he cut the unit off of his leg shortly before killing Sawyer. The plaintiff claimed that Sawyers was lulled into a false sense of security after reading false and misleading statements on B.I.'s Web site, which promised that the ankle transmitter "indicates tamper condition if removed from the offender's leg". Sawyers' front door was unlocked and she was drunk and on methamphetamine when she was attacked by Whitlow. On June 21, 1997, Sawyers, 40, was waiting for her 8-year-old daughter, Kirby, to return from an outing when Whitlow, 42, armed with a pistol and carrying a can of gasoline. Whitlow sprayed gasoline inside the house and chased Sawyer outside where he fatally shot her before sticking he pistol in his mouth and pulling the trigger. The radio transmitter would not sound an alert if removed from the offender's leg unless the removal occurs within the limited range of the monitoring unit in the victim's home. The Plaintiffs claimed that Sawyer would have taken other steps to protect herself had she known the limitations of the ankle monitor.

B.I. denied that the ankle monitor was defectively designed or manufactured and that it engaged in no deceptive trade practices and did not breach and warranties.

Outcome: Judgment for plaintiff for $191,400 with a finding that Whitlow as 70% at fault, Sawyer 10% and B.I. 20% and finding that the woman's death resulted in $957,000 in damages.

Plaintiff's Experts: Unknown

Defendant's Experts: Unknown

Comments: None

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