Death-by-Foreclosure Case on Shaky Ground

     FRESNO, Calif. (CN) – A daughter must provide more evidence to support her claim that Wells Fargo Bank’s eviction of her mother led to the woman’s death because she was unable to plug in the oxygen concentrator she needed to breathe, a federal judge ruled.
     U.S. District Judge Troy Nunley said that Brooke Noble can amend her claims for wrongful death and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress against the bank.
     Noble sued Wells Fargo in October 2014, claiming that the bank violated state orders when it locked her mother out of her home in May 2013 during foreclosure proceedings. Noble’s mother, Marsha Kilgore, died on Oct. 16, 2013, “from inability to breathe,” Noble says.
     The daughter claims that the bank knew that her mother was dependent on an oxygen concentrator that needed to be plugged in to the wall. Without the oxygen and due to the stress of being locked out of her home, Kilgore’s condition rapidly worsened and she died, Noble says.
     Nunley said that Noble did not provide enough facts to show “a causal link between the eviction and the death.”
     “Ms. Kilgore passed away more than five months after the eviction. The court deems it too attenuated to conclude that being evicted five months previous was the cause of death. Furthermore, there are insufficient facts to suggest that defendant could have foreseen that the act of eviction had a high degree of risk of death or great bodily harm,” Nunley wrote.
     Moving forward on just the facts currently presented “would create liability for any accident that may occur after an eviction,” Nunley wrote.
     Noble can amend her complaint to allege further facts to support the link between the eviction and her mother’s death, the judge said.
     Attorneys for the parties did not return requests for comment.

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