Six months have passed since a Tampa area man fatally shot his brother following an argument about the family’s construction business. The Hillsborough sheriff’s department reported that 53-year-old Todd Tomlinson shot his younger brother, Scott Tomlinson, age 51 in August. Police were called out to the home after reports of gun shots and they found Todd standing with a gun in hand. As officers approached him, he raised the gun. Police fired on Todd, killing him instantly. This was the start of a lengthy investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of the two brothers and now the family is being pulled apart as relatives choose sides in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The widow of Scott Tomlinson is suing the estate of Todd Tomlinson on wrongful death charges. The lawsuit blames Todd for the death of his younger brother and seeks compensation to cover the medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and payment for mental pain and suffering for Scott’s widow and two daughters. “If someone is wrongfully killed, the survivors are entitled to collect damages,” said the Tomlinson family’s lawyer, Joseph Lopez.
At this time, police have no formally rules that Todd Tomlinson is responsible for the death of Scott, although family members maintain that this was the case. The two brothers were joint owners of Tomlinson Brothers Plastering. They had worked together since 1983 doing stucco work and construction around the Tampa area. The brothers became the fourth generation in the Tomlinson family to go into the stucco trade.
While there is still much unknown about the argument that led to the fatal shooting, a neighbor told the Tampa Bay Times that the brothers were engaged in a heated argument over the future of their business. Another brother who was uninvolved in the shooting had recently sued the business, claiming he had been forcibly removed from the business. This left the two remaining brothers in an argument over whether they should split up the Tomlinson Brothers company for good.
Officials from the sheriff’s department so the investigation remains open and detectives are currently waiting for evidence to be tested and returned from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. In the widow vs. widow lawsuit, Scott Tomlin’s wife is seeking more than $15,000 in damages.
“It’s always a terrible tragedy when a lawsuit involves two parties within the same family,” said Tampa wrongful death lawyer, Christopher Ligori. “After such a catastrophic loss, you expect that your family members will be the ones to hold you close as you walk out the grieving process. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Both parties are doing the right thing to seek legal counsel as they walk out the days ahead. Wrongful death suits can be extremely painful, but an experienced lawyer can offer wise counsel along the way.”
If you have experienced the death of a loved one due to negligence of criminal activity on the part of another party, you could also be eligible for compensation. Contact a wrongful death attorney in Tampa to learn more about your rights.