Mother sues Opera House Square; says gated community didn't protect Ross

Mother of slain woman says security failed

jkegley@herald-leader.comJuly 17, 2010 

The mother of Amanda Ross has filed a lawsuit against the gated community where her daughter lived and was gunned down last September, alleging that officials allowed former State Rep. Steve Nunn to gain access to the facility after Ross told them she had an active emergency protective order against him.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Fayette Circuit Court by Diana M. Ross as personal representative of the estate of Amanda Ross. It names Opera House Square I LTD., as well as several townhouse and homeowner's associations under the Opera House Square name, as defendants and seeks an undetermined amount of money for injuries and damages.

Amanda Ross, 29, was found shot outside her Opera House Square town home on Sept. 11. Nunn, 57, is charged with murder and violating a domestic violence order of protection in the slaying. The prosecution is seeking the death penalty. Nunn has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Analy Scorsone, a board member of the Opera House Square Townhouses corporation, said the organization was not prepared to comment.

According to the lawsuit, Nunn had been granted access to the complex when he lived with Ross, his former fiancée, in 2008.

After filing a domestic violence complaint in February, 2009, Amanda Ross "expressly requested that the board take steps to eliminate Nunn's access to the premise, which would have included changing the access code and the key to the gate."

"The actions and/or inactions of Opera House Square were a substantial factor in causing the death of Ms. Ross," the suit says.

R. Burl McCoy, attorney for Diana Ross, said Amanda Ross paid homeowner's fees to maintain security at the complex.

"You're entitled to a safe place to live, and especially in a gated community," he said.

Diana Ross is also suing Cincinnati Insurance Company, which the lawsuit says provides insurance to the community, for breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, Cincinnati Insurance denied to cover medical expenses for Amanda Ross even though she "paid dues which were used to purchase the policy with Cincinnati."

"Cincinnati breached the applicable policy by, among other things, failing to compensate plaintiff for ambulance, medical, hospital and funeral services."

From Cincinnati Insurance, Diana Ross is seeking an undetermined amount for injuries and damages, as well as punitive damages.

Joan Shevchik, a spokeswoman for Cincinnati Insurance, issued the following comment: "When a lawsuit is filed, we respect the rights of all parties and the court process. We don't generally comment while it's in the hands of the court."

Amanda Ross's family also has a wrongful death lawsuit pending in Fayette circuit court against Nunn. She is seeking damages for pain and suffering, medical expenses, Ross's funeral costs and the loss of her future earning capacity as well as punitive damages.

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