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Jim Carrey Wrongful Death Lawsuit- Can You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit After A Suicide?

Posted by Gary Walch | Jun 06, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you are struggling with the legal implications of a suicide and not sure what your options are? We are so very sorry for your loss and are here to help answer this very important question for you. California wrongful death lawsuits typically rise out of the negligent acts of another party that ultimately cause the death of another. But what is the acts of another case the death of another but in a different way- via suicide? This unique category, in some circumstances can give rise to a wrongful death lawsuit.

Jim carrey 2008
Image via Ian Smith

And this small but important area of California wrongful death cases has been making some major headlines lately thanks to actor Jim Carrey. Carrey is being sued by the estranged husband and mother of his now deceased girlfriend, Cathriona White for contributing to her suicide. White overdosed on prescription drugs back in 2013 and while she had dated Carrey for a couple of years she was still legally married. The Daily Mail reports that the mother and husband are "demanding general damages, funeral and burial expenses and punitive damages." Court documents allege at least three major things that Carrey did to contribute to White's suicide:

  1. STD Transmission: Text messages between White and Carrey were recently allowed as evidence to show that the actor transmitted several STD's to White during their relationship. Carrey maintains that she could have contracted the STD's in question from another partner.
  2. Drugs: White died of an overdose combination of Carrey's Ambien, Percocet and Propranolol. Carrey maintains that these were stolen from him, not willingly given. This charge is further complicated by allegations that Carrey illegally obtained these drugs in the first place.
  3. Funeral: Carrey initially offered and then backed out of paying for White's funeral and burial expenses. Carrey sought to have this allegation removed from the complaint but the Judge has since sided with the plaintiffs on the rationale that this evidence goes to show the nature of the relationship at the time of death.

Wrongful death lawsuits are civil suits that can be brought by those close to the deceased when their death was caused by the negligent or wrongful acts of another individual; and as the mother and husband of the deceased, they are within the class of individuals that are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. Applied to this case, the plaintiffs will need to successfully show that it was the actions of Carrey that ultimately brought about the death via suicide of Cathriona White. Because the actual killing in a suicide is self-inflicted, these cases are often much more complicated than other wrongful death case. Some important questions for consideration in any wrongful death suicide cases include things like:

  • Did the defendant know or should have known that the individual was suicidal at the time or had suicidal tendencies
  • What was the timeline between when the defendant's wrongful act took place and the suicide
  • What was the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the deceased?
  • What other things contributed to the suicide?

Jim Carrey's wrongful death case is set for April 2018.

About the Author

Gary Walch

Founding Partner, Gary Walch, has built his entire professional legal practice around helping victims of serious personal injuries and wrongful death accidents. With over 40 years of experience he has built a reputation among his clients and the legal community for both his self and his law firm as someone you go to when you want results and help.


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