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Short Hills Mall Carjacking Victim, Toms River Native May Seek Punitive Damages

Owners and manager of mall denied bid to drop part of lawsuit claiming wrongdoing.

Dustin Friedland, pictured with his wife Jamie Schare Friedland, was shot and killed during a carjacking at the Mall at Short Hills in December 2013.
Dustin Friedland, pictured with his wife Jamie Schare Friedland, was shot and killed during a carjacking at the Mall at Short Hills in December 2013.

The owners of the Mall at Short Hills, where a Toms River native was fatally shot during a carjacking in December, were denied a bid to drop part of the charges in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the victim’s widow, NJ.com reported.

A Superior Court Judge said Friday he would not dismiss the claim for punitive damages as requested in a motion filed by the attorney representing mall owners Michigan-based Taubman Centers and Michael McAvinue, the mall’s general manager, saying there is no evidence of wrongdoing.

The widow of Dustin Friedland, Jamie Schare Friedland, filed a suit for an unspecified amount in March alleging the mall’s owners should have been aware the upscale Millburn mall with its proximity to major highways was a prime target for carjackings and should have taken appropriate precautions.

The lawsuit also names the mall’s security company and the Milburn First Aid Squad, which reportedly took 20 minutes to arrive on the scene and had to wheel a stretcher over to Friedland when the ambulance was unable to fit into the parking deck.

McAvinue, the mall’s general manager, defended security at the shopping complex in the days after the lawsuit was filed.

“There is no higher priority at The Mall at Short Hills than safety,” McAvinue said in a statement. “That is why we deploy a professional security force onsite and retain off-duty Millburn Police officers to augment the on-duty Millburn Police presence assigned to the mall throughout the year, including the evening of December 15, 2013.”

Friedland, a Hoboken lawyer, was gunned down as he was helping his wife get into their Range Rover at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2013.

Friedland died at 11:45 p.m. that night at Morristown Medical Center.

Four Essex County men were arrested and charged with Friedland's death. Karif Ford, 31, Basim Henry, 32, and Kevin Roberts, 35 of Newark; and Hanif Thompson, 29, of Irvington, were charged with murder, felony murder, carjacking, conspiracy, possession of a weapon and possession of a weapon for unlawful purpose.

All four men pleaded not guilty and await trial.

Erik June 25, 2014 at 09:19 PM
Suing the ambulance company? Really?
Heywood June 26, 2014 at 03:33 PM
I'm surprised she's nor suing Range Rover for producing a vehicle so appealing to carjackers.
McCorry June 26, 2014 at 05:13 PM
Well she won't get anything from suing Karif, Basim, Kevin and Hanif. The mall obviously has some responsibility to provide reasonable security and I have not heard anything either way about that. Class warfare resentment because they had a Range Rover is just a sign of these political times and really not fare.
BonnieLind June 26, 2014 at 09:24 PM
It figures.
Rem June 26, 2014 at 09:32 PM
Come on lets look for the dollars. It must have been the malls fault. Some lawyer lookin to get rich. You take your life in your hands every time you go out and sometimes even at home with break ins. Don't give her one red cent just give her the opportunity to pull the switch and if she does not want to i will give her $20 to do it for her.

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