Negligence suit filed in MUW student’s death

By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal

CORINTH – A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the parents of Jaslynn McGee, one of four Mississippi University for Women freshmen who died last month in an Alabama motel fire.
Booneville attorney Casey Lott filed the suit in Jefferson County, Ala., Circuit Court on Monday, contending that McGee’s death could have been avoided.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Bernard McGee and Jacquelynn McGee, names as defendants Dhirajlal Bhagat, the motel employee who allegedly caused the fire; Papasha Inc., the business name for Days Inn South where the fire occurred; Chris Parekh, manager of the Days Inn South; and “fictitious defendants.”
The suit contends that the defendants acted or failed to act in a manner that could have saved McGee’s life by:
– Allowing a fire to be started at the motel by Bhagat.
– Failing to properly respond to the fire once it started.
– Failing to maintain fire extinguishers on the premises.
– Failing to timely notify authorities of the fire.
– Failing to warn motel guests of the fire.
– Failing to take adequate safety measures to prevent Jaslynn McGee’s death.
– Failing to devise or implement appropriate safety standards.
– Failing to provide safe premises.
The suit asks for a jury trial with damages to be determined by a jury.
Officials ruled that the Jan. 16 fire at a Hoover, Ala., motel was an accident. Bhagat, who lived in the unit beneath the one occupied by the four girls, had left incense burning, and the fire started there.
No criminal charges were filed, but Bhagat had overstayed his work visa and was taken into custody by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for possible deportation to his native India.
Other victims of the fire were Jamelia Brown of Grenada and Catherine Muse and Alondan Turner, both of Cordova, Ala.
A suit was filed on behalf of the families of Muse and Turner last week.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.