Mills, mother of Green River victim Opal
Mills files wrongful death lawsuit against Gary
Ridgway, his wife, Judith,
and their "marital community." That move keeps Judith
Ridgway from profiting, because either person in the marriage
bears some responsibility for the other.
attorney William Bailey filed the complaint on December 26,
2001, in King County Superior Court. Anthony
Savage accepted service for Ridgway and Judith Ridgway's
lawyer accepted on hers. Ridgway will need to file a response
to admit or deny the complaint.
believes they will win. "Even though Mr. Ridgway is entitled
to a trial, and I certainly Support a person's right to be innocent
until proven guilty, the criminal standard of proof is very
different from the civil standard," Bailey said. "And
there's enough evidence that's been collected by the police
in their effort to solve this, to meet the burden of proof of
a civil action."
type of suits often aren't about money, Bailey said. "I
don't believe Mr. Ridgway has any money and whatever he has
has been leveraged to pay for Mr. Savage," Bailey said.
a wrongful death suit focuses on mostly financial issues, this
is focusing on the heart issue. .. She
has suffered enormously, as well as the rest of her family."
Bailey said no monetary amount can be put on Mills' request.
her focus is not on collecting damages, the suit filed yesterday
asks for "burial and funeral expenses, past and future
loss of consortium, care and comfort, and emotional distress."
knew that he had signed everything over to the lawyers, but
I didn't want anything anyway," Mills said. "But I just don't
want him to make a lot of money off of these girls."
compared the the case of OJ Simpson, who was acquitted in his
criminal trial, but found guilty in a civil suit.
live in strange times where people who do bad things can make
from it. We want him to be prevented from profiting in any way
selling his story."
will provide information in a legal process called discovery,
Bailey said. A civil trial would be held in about 16 months,
before the criminal trial begins. Attorneys have estimated that
it will take 2 years or longer for Ridgway's criminal
trial to begin. "It's
our desire, after so much time has gone by, what is possible
for Mrs. Mills to do on the civil side to get justice,"