ATLANTA -- The mother of Jorelys Rivera has sued the apartment complex that hired the man who abducted and killed her daughter in 2011.
Joselinne Rivera filed the lawsuit in Fulton County State Court, claiming the River Ridge Apartments in Canton and McCormack Baron Ragan Management Inc. were partly responsible for the death of her young daughter.
The lawsuit is identical to the one the mother filed in February, 2012. State Court Judge John Mather dismissed that lawsuit in August, 2013. Her attorneys re-filed it, making the same allegations against the complex and its management company.
Ryan McCabe Brunn was a maintenance worker at the apartment complex and was arrested for the disappearance of Jorelys in 2011. He later confessed to the crime and then committed suicide in prison.
Rivera claims the apartment complex and management company gave Brunn master keys to the complex, allowing him access to a vacant apartment where he attacked and killed Jorelys. She says among other things, the complex:
- Failed to conduct a criminal background check on Brunn
- Failed to do a pre-employment drug screen
- Failed to check personal references
- Failed to check Brunn's arrest record
- Did not fire Brunn after learning he was using illegal drugs
- Failed to maintain an adequate key control system
- Failed to respond to resident complaints about Brunn
- Failed to alert residents that a registered sex offender (not Brunn) was living in the complex
A woman who answered the phone at River Ridge Apartments would not comment on the allegations or say who owns the complex. She referred 11Alive News to the management company named as the co-defendant in the lawsuit, and a company spokesman said, "It would be inappropriate for the company to comment at this time on pending litigation."
The company did respond to the accusations, at length and in detail, when the mother first made them in the original lawsuit.
"Brunn's violent tendencies were... unknowable," wrote the company in one court filing. "Even [the mother] has admitted that Brunn had no criminal record and that MBR [McCormack Baron Ragan Managment, Inc.]... conducted a reasonable check into Brunn's criminal background before granting him employment and accepting him as a resident."
The company wrote that it conducted two criminal background checks on Brunn. "Both of the criminal background searches performed on Brunn came back negative for any prior criminal history."
The company wrote that it was impossible for anyone to forsee Brunn's violent attack.
"There is no evidence that Brunn was ever arrested or convicted of any crime prior to his employment at River Ridge or his murder of Jorelys Rivera."
The company submitted evidence that Brunn did undergo a pre-employment drug screening. "The test came back negative for any traces of illegal drugs."
Court documents in the original lawsuit include evidence that Brunn confessed to two people on two separate occasions that he was once accused of molesting his seven year old niece in Virginia. But the judge who dismissed that original Rivera lawsuit wrote that there was no evidence that management could have known, prior to the murder of Jorelys, of Brunn's confessions about the earlier accusations.
The company denied the other allegations listed in the original lawsuit, as well, which are now part of the new lawsuit..
The original lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, meaning that the mother could file another lawsuit if she believed that she had come up with evidence disputing the company's denials.
Her Atlanta attorney, Lloyd N. Bell, was not available for comment.