In February, Bruce Jenner was involved in a deadly traffic accident on the Pacific Coast Highway. Now TMZ is reporting that the two adult stepchildren of the victim in the crash, Kim Howe, have filed a lawsuit claiming Jenner was “careless and negligent” when he slammed his SUV into Howe’s car.
This is a civil lawsuit, which means it’s only about money (and reputational damage), not the possibility of jail or criminal punishment. (Whether or not there will be a criminal prosecution is still an open question, since the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department continues in its investigation, and it is ultimately up to the DA’s office to decide whether or not to file criminal charges.) In this case, Howe’s stepchildren are claiming loss of affection but it’s not clear how close they were with Howe.
This is an interesting bit of timing, and those who are cynically inclined may wonder whether this filing was timed to coincide with Diane Sawyer interview of Jenner last week, or perhaps to leverage the increased popularity Jenner is experiencing, or maybe that in light of the important gender identification conversations that are now taking place, that Jenner will have less of an appetite for litigation.
Whatever the case, and however this shakes out, one thing is certain: Kim Howe is gone too soon, and both her family and friends, and Jenner’s, must carry this burden forever. How a jury will help relieve that burden in the only way the law can – through the transfer of money – remains to be seen.
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