Rebecca Zahau lawsuit: Attorneys for both sides will be back in court May 1

24 January, 2015

 $10 million civil lawsuit filed in connection with the 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau.

$10 million civil lawsuit filed in connection with the 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau.

There is a related Federal case, and an Early Evaluation Hearing in the Federal case will be heard in about 8 weeks, and thus this case is advanced to May 1. [Case Number: 3:2013cv01624 below]

SUPERIOR COURT OF CALIFORNIA,

JUDICIAL OFICER PRESIDING: Katherine Bacal
COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO
CENTRAL
DATE: 01/09/2015 DEPT: C-69

CASE NO: 37-2013-0075418-CU-PO-CTL CASE INIT.DATE: 1/13/2013
CASE TILE: Estate of Rebeca Zahau vs. Shacknai [IMAGED]
CASE CATEGORY: Civl -Unlimited CASE TYPE: PI/PD/WD -Other
EVENTYPE: Civl Case Management Confernce
MOVING PARTY: Pari Zahau, Estate of Rebeca Zahau, Estae of Robert Zahau, Mary
Zahau-Loehner
CAUSAL DOCUMENT/DATE FILED: Complaint, 1/13/2013
Counsel inform the Court that there is an Early Evaluation Hearing in a Federal case in about 8 weeks. A
detrmination of which case should be stayed pending resolution in the other case needs to be made.
The Court schedules the folowing hearings:
Adam Shacknai’s Demurer is advanced pursuanto Court’s motion to 05/01/2015 at 01:30PM before
Judge Katherine Bacal.
Nina Romano’s Motion to Strike is advanced pursuanto Court’s motion to 05/01/2015 at 01:30PM
before Judge Katherine Bacal.
Nina Romano’s Motion to Dismis or Stay is advanced pursuanto Court’s motion to 05/01/2015 at
01:30PM before Judge Katherine Bacal.
Civl Case Management Confernce is continued to trail the above refrenced hearings pursuanto
Court’s motion to 5/01/2015 at 1:30PM before Judge Katherine Bacal.

[Federal]
A motion had originally been filed to dismiss the case, but The judge denied it on January 9.
The complaint the judge did accept is actually the fourth of its kind. Prior to it, the judge denied three others for lacking specific allegations. This current version alleges that Dina’s role involved attacking Zahau by striking her in the back of the head multiple times with a blunt object, during a confrontation that involved both parties and Nina. According to the suit, the two then involved Adam, with the trio binding and gagging Zahau, choking her to death and then hanging her from the building naked.

Adam is then said to have written the message investigators would find on the front door of the mansion, “SHE SAVED HIM. CAN YOU SAVE HER” under direction from Nina.

Keith Greer, who is representing the family, alleges that Dina believed Zahau had played a role in her son’s death.

Filing 24 [Federal]

ORDER granting in part and denying in part Plaintiffs’ 19 Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. Court denies Plaintiffs leave to file either the Proposed First Amended Complaint or Proposed Second Amended Complaint in their current f orm. Court grants Plaintiffs leave to file First Amended Complaint that is consistent with this Order. Any future amendment must contain no reference to the second, third, or fourth claims listed in the Proposed First Amended Complaint that are lacking in complete diversity. If Plaintiffs choose to file an amended complaint, it must be filed by 4/7/2014. Signed by Judge Thomas J. Whelan on 3/13/2014. (jah)

[August 6 2014 Attorneys for both sides will be back in court next January]
A hearing was held on August 1 in a $10 million civil lawsuit filed in connection with the 2011 death of Rebecca Zahau.Attorneys for both sides will be back in court next January to set a trial date.

[August 2 Rebecca Zahau hit on the head multiple times, bound with duct tape, gagged and strangled, amended complaint]

“complex knots” on bound hands


“complex knots” on bound feet

On July 8, Keith Greer, the Zahau family attorney, filed an amended complaint, claiming that Dina and Nina aggressively confronted Rebecca at the mansion just before she died. The documents allege that an argument escalated to an attack. The Zahau’s family said they had her body re-examined and reportedly found signs of foul play, including four blows to the head — an injury not included in the county’s autopsy.

It claims she was hit on the head multiple times, bound with duct tape, gagged and strangled. It goes on to say someone tied rope around her neck and pushed her over the railing.

Duct tape residue found on Zahau’s legs was not explained in the initial autopsy, and Greer said the knot around her neck is known as a “tugboat hitch.”

[July 17 2012 Significant measures to ensure ongoing protection: Estate of Rebecca Zahau et al v. Shacknai ]

Jonah and Dina Shacknai’s 6-year-old son, Max, suffered fatal head injuries in a fall from a second-floor staircase inside the mansion, owned by Jonah. Rebecca Zahau and her young sister were the only other people in the home.

After the boy’s fall, Adam Shacknai arrived and was staying in the mansion guest house. Dina Shacknai was at her vacation home a few blocks away, and her sister flew into town. see below – Dina Shacknai sought a new investigation in the death of Max, 6. The Arizona resident, a psychologist, wanted the police to take a renewed look at her son’s case and reclassify his death as a homicide.

“While we[Dina Shacknai et al.] empathize with the Zahau family regarding their grief over the loss of Rebecca, for Nina and I to be named as parties to this frivolous lawsuit by the Zahau family is cruel and irresponsible. There is absolutely no truth to these allegations. Unfortunately, I have now been left with no alternative but to initiate significant measures to ensure the ongoing protection of myself, as well as my remaining family.”

The statement did not explain in what way Dina Shacknai planned to protect herself.

Adam Shacknai reported to police that he found Zahau hanging from an outside balcony, nude and gagged, her hands and feet bound. Investigators concluded she killed herself in distress over Max’s accident. The boy died several days later.
[July 16]
CORONADO, Calif., July 15 (UPI) — The family of Rebecca Zahau filed a wrongful death lawsuit seeking $10 million, saying the woman’s hanging death in California was a homicide, not a suicide.

Her mother, Pari Zahau and sister, Mary Zahau-Loehner named Adam Shacknai, his ex-wife Dina Shacknai, and Dina’s twin sister, Nina Romano, as defendants in the lawsuit filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California

The lawsuit doesn’t name Rebecca Zahau’s boyfriend, Jonah Shacknai.

The lawsuit alleges the three defendants “participated in some manner in the planning, implementation, execution and subsequent concealment of the scheme to murder” Rebecaa Zahau

Estate of Rebecca Zahau et al v. Shacknai et al

Plaintiffs: Estate of Rebecca Zahau , Estate of Robert Zahau , Mary Zahau-Leohner and Pari Z. Zahau
Defendants: Adam Shacknai, Dina Shacknai, Nina Romano and Does 1 through 50, inclusive

Case Number: 3:2013cv01624
Filed: July 12, 2013

Court: California Southern District Court
Office: San Diego Office
County: San Diego
Presiding Judge: Thomas J. Whelan
Judge
Hon. Thomas J. Whelan
U.S. District

Southern District of Calfornia
Referring Judge: Nita L. Stormes

Nature of Suit: Torts – Injury – Other Personal Injury
Cause: 28:1332 Diversity-Personal Injury
Jurisdiction: Diversity
Jury Demanded By: Plaintiff

Judge Hon. Thomas J. Whelan

Judge
Hon. Thomas J. Whelan

[September 22, 2012]
DIna Shacknai makes brief statement before council members as she continues to seek a new investigation in the death of Max, 6.T he Arizona resident, a psychologist, wants the police to take a renewed look at her son’s case and reclassify his death as a homicide.

She raised a number of questions about the police department’s actions, from detectives’ consultations with Sheriff Bill Gore during the initial investigation, to why they did not seek their own movement expert’s opinion on the contradictory results produced by her team.

[August 8]The independent experts were Dr. Judy Melinek, a board-certified forensic pathologist from San Francisco, and Dr. Robert T. Bove Jr., an expert in injury biomechanics based in Philadelphia.

Melinek said that Max’s injuries were inconsistent with a fall and “it would be more accurate to certify that manner (of death) as a homicide.”
(earlier)

 Lt. Larry Nesbit took command of the homicide unit  on May 27

Lt. Larry Nesbit took command of the homicide unit on May 27, 2011

 

 

 

[october 27, 2011]Rebecca Zahau’s body was exhumed at her family’s request around October 21 in St. Joseph, Missouri, and will soon be examined by renowned forensic pathologist

Rebecca Zahau's body seen from a news helicopter

Rebecca Zahau’s body seen from a news helicopter

“I would like to hear from them how you get four separate impacts to the top of the head in a vertical hanging,” said Dr. Wech after his second autopsy of Rebecca Zahau

And why is her neck not injured the way it should be from hanging?

“The cervical vertebrae would have been fractured or dislocated, separated from each other or from the base of the skull. That was not present as found in the original autopsy or by me,” Dr. Wecht said.

Dr. Cyril Wecht in Pennsylvania, Zahau said family attorney Anne Bremner . Bremner last month hired Wecht, who has publicly questioned the suicide ruling based on his reading of the official autopsy report, to consult in the case.
The listings on Zahau’s cell phone logs within 48 hours of her death showed phone numbers linked to the following individuals:

– Jonah Shacknai, Rebecca’s boyfriend
– Mary Zahau-Loehner, Rebecca’s sister
– Adam Shacknai, Jonah’s brother
– Dr. Howard Luber, Jonah’s friend
– Gideon & Marcelle Shacknai, Jonah’s father & step-mother
– Xena Zahau, Rebecca’s sister
– Nina Romano, Jonah’s ex sister-in-law
– Det. Thomas Adkins, Coronado Police detective
– Snowem Horwath, Rebecca’s sister
– Caroline Niles, Coronado, Calif.
– Valerie Flores, Medicis employee
– Coronado Bay Urgent Care (treated Xena Zahau for leg injury)
– Camp Diggity Dogs, dog daycare facility
Lt. Nesbit said the only way Zahau’s phone could be examined would be to dismantle it, and the department deemed that was unnecessary, adding there’s “nothing on the phone central to the evidence. We don’t have any unanswered questions.” Lt. Nesbit also responded to reports from Anne Bremner there were two witnesses who heard Zahau scream for help the night she died. Nesbit said those people were interviewed, but concluded “we don’t think it’s relevant.” The main reason, Nesbit said, was a group of teens were outside when the cry was heard. Those witnesses told detectives they couldn’t decipher if the scream was from the Spreckels Mansion or those teenagers. Lt. Larry Nesbit took command of the homicide unit at the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department at 6 a.m. May 27 Sgt. Roy Frank led the until Nesbit moved into the commanding officer’s sunny corner He said he has known Nesbit since the two attended law enforcement academy together at the dawn of their careers [San Diego County Sheriff’s Regional Law Enforcement Academy],

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