Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas
PITTSBURGH – One of the defendants named in a wrongful death civil lawsuit by the estate of Codi Joyce has petitioned the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas for summary judgment.
Through the motion, defendant Daniel J. Lentz is attempting to dismiss claims of negligence, wrongful death and civil conspiracy filed against him by Joyce’s family.
Lentz argues the plaintiff has produced no testimony or evidence that he had knowledge of a party taking place at his home or that he gave alcohol to a minor, no evidence that he had a duty to prevent harm to Joyce and that he cannot be held liable for conspiracy when he was not present before, during or after the altercation which killed Joyce.
Argument on the summary judgment motion will take place in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on Dec. 10 before Judge Arnold I. Klein.
Named in the lawsuit are six individuals – Devin Hinkle, Ryan Sabo, Connor Stevens, Derek R. Marcone, Jessica Lentz and Lentz – whom the family of Joyce claim were all involved in his death in some form or other.
Joyce, a 23 year-old man, was allegedly beaten at a house party in 2015 in Munhall, found unresponsive and later died at a hospital.
The formal complaint filed by Joyce’s father, John J. Joyce, states that Jessica Lentz was the host of frequent parties at her residence owned by Daniel J. Lentz (her father) who gave her permission to do so. The residence allegedly was known as a place for “younger individuals” to drink. One such party was held on Sept. 27, 2015, and Codi Joyce was in attendance, the suit states.
Around 1 a.m., Joyce allegedly got into an altercation with Stevens over a Hot Pocket, escalating to the co-defendant, along with the help of Sabo, Hinkle and Marcone, beating and choking Joyce to death. The suit stated that it was determined that cause of death was the result of a multi-system trauma to areas including the head, spine and abdomen.
The suit stated that Hinkle and Stevens were responsible for the choking while Stevens, Marcone, and Sabo “repeatedly and violently” beat the decedent. Hinkle allegedly also sustained bite mark defensive wounds in the assault.
After the attack, Marcone checked Joyce’s pulse and could not find a heartbeat, the suit claimed.
The attackers, as well as the party’s host, allegedly failed to call the police and even went so far as to tell other party guests not to call 911. Emergency services were eventually called by neighbors who had heard the commotion of the party, the suit said.
Additionally, Sabo allegedly texted a woman stating that he and Hinkle had killed Joyce. Sabo also sent a picture with tear drops drawn onto his eye, similar to a gang symbol donned by individuals who have committed murder, the suit stated.
Joyce’s estate is seeking $7 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas case GD-17-007065
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org