DALLAS - The family of Botham Jean is now suing the apartment complex where he lived because of the faulty door locks and confusing layout.
In September of 2018, Jean was shot and killed by his downstairs neighbor at the Southside Flats in Dallas.
That neighbor, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, claimed that after getting off her work shift, she parked on the wrong floor and walked into Jean’s apartment thinking it was her own.
Guyger said she took out her key fob to unlock her door and was able to push it open. She shot Jean because she thought he was an intruder in her apartment.
She was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The wrongful death lawsuit filed by Jean’s family Tuesday argues Southside Flats contributed to his death by failing to fix faulty locking mechanisms on tenants’ doors and because of the confusion with the layout of the complex.
The suit points to testimony from Guyger’s murder trial. She and other residents said they regularly parked on the wrong floor and either walked up to or tried to enter the wrong apartment.
The lead investigator on the case interviewed 297 of the 349 residents at Southside Flats. He testified that 71 people or 44% of the residents living on the third and fourth floor had walked to the wrong apartment on the wrong floor.
“After the incident, Southside Flats labeled the entryways with floor numbers, showing they recognized this problem,” the lawsuit states.
The lead investigator also discovered mechanical problems that at times prevented Jean’s door and deadbolt from fully latching. Other residents had the same problem, according to the suit.
“Defendants Southside and Waterton were aware of the condition of the doors at Southside Flats but failed to provide its tenants and guests with adequate notice or warnings of the failures,” it states.
The lawsuit names the Southside Flats, it’s management company and the company that manufactured and installed the door locking system.
It seeks more than $1 million for Jean’s estate and his parents because of the funeral costs, mental anguish, loss of companionship and other damages.
Jean’s family has also asked for a jury trial for the lawsuit.