Defendants in high-rise death lawsuit want child's claim thrown out
BY BILL BRAUN World Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
The operator and manager of a Tulsa high-rise apartment building contend that parts of a woman’s lawsuit linked to her husband’s death in a fall through a window should be dismissed by statute.
An attorney for the woman, Amber Hilberling, says the motion by defendants in the civil case is based on “nonsubstantive” technical issues.
“The case will not be dismissed,” said attorney Jasen Corns, representing Hilberling. “If anything, we’ll amend two sentences.’’
In a separate criminal case, Hilberling, now 21, awaits a March 11 trial on a second-degree murder charge in which she is accused of pushing her husband, causing him to fall through the window.
An alternative charge of first-degree manslaughter involves an allegation that his death occurred while she was committing a domestic assault and battery.
Joshua Hilberling, 23, died June 7, 2011, when he fell 17 stories from a window in the couple’s home at the University Club Tower, 1722 S. Carson Ave.
A lawsuit filed Sept. 19 in Tulsa County District Court, in which Amber Hilberling and her infant son are listed as plaintiffs, alleges that the window was faulty and dangerously thin.
The suit says Joshua Hilberling “tripped and stumbled into a wall in the living room of the apartment and made contact with a large window,” which the suit says was not made of the type of glass required by city of Tulsa building code.
Defendants in the lawsuit are University Club Tower, United Mansion Limited Partnership and Horizon Realty Management.
The suit requests an unspecified amount of actual damages, in excess of $10,000, and punitive damages.
In a motion filed Tuesday, the owner and manager of University Club Tower state that Amber Hilberling is not allowed by statute to bring individual claims for damages on behalf of herself and on behalf of her 1-year-old son, Levi Hilberling.
Amber Hilberling, acting as surviving spouse, is the only proper party to bring the lawsuit alleging a wrongful death, the filing states.
The lawsuit lists an individual claim for damages on behalf of Amber Hilberling and indicates that she is also bringing a claim for damages on behalf of her son.