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Actor hit with wrongful death claim over girlfriend suicide

Many of our California readers have heard that actor-comedian Jim Carrey is currently in legal troubles for providing a former girlfriend prescription drugs, which is said to have resulted in her death. The death is presumed to have been a suicide, though there may still be an investigation into the matter.

The woman’s surviving husband, with whom she was separated at the time of her death, has reportedly filed a wrongful death lawsuit accusing Carrey of illegally obtaining and distributing addictive drugs to the woman, including Percocet, Ambien, and Propranolol, despite the fact that he knew of her struggles with depression and her suicidal tendencies. In addition, the lawsuit claims that Carrey has tried to cover up his actions by suggesting that the woman took the medication without his knowledge. 

Wrongful death, as a cause of action in tort law, can be alleged in connection with a variety of circumstances, including automobile accidents, medical malpractice, criminal behavior; and workplace injury. As with any legal claim, wrongful death claims involve several basic elements which must be proven by sufficient, reliable evidence. These include: the death of an individual; which is caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of another; and monetary injury to surviving family members.

In California, a wrongful death claim may be brought by personal representative of estate, or by a number of other individuals, including:

  • The decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, children, the children of deceased children, or those who would be entitled to the property of the decedent under intestate succession law;
  • The “putative” spouse, children of the putative spouse, stepchildren or parents; and
  • Dependant minors.

In our next post, we’ll look briefly at the types of damages that may be sought in wrongful death litigation, as well as the importance of working with an experienced attorney when pursuing a wrongful death case.


Insurance Journal, “Jim Carrey Sued in California for Wrongful Death of Ex-Girlfriend,” Sept. 20, 2016.

Findlaw, Wrongful Death Overview, Accessed Oct. 5, 2016.

California Code of Civil Procedure, Section 377.60-377.62

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