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Mall Carjacking Victim's Widow Files Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Jamie Schare Friedland sues the mall's owners, the shopping center's security company and the Millburn first aid squad.

The widow of a Hoboken attorney killed in December during a carjacking at The Mall at Short Hills has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owners of the shopping complex, the mall's security company and the rescue squad that took 20 minutes to reach her dying husband.

Jamie Schare Friedland filed the lawsuit this week in State Superior Court in Newark for an unspecified amount of damages for the death of her husband, Dustin Friedland, a Toms River native who was gunned down when the couple returned to their Range Rover at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 15, 2013.

The lawsuit, which was first reported Friday by The Star-Ledger, alleges the mall's owners, Michigan-based Taubman Centers, should have known the upscale mall was a prime target for carjackings and should have taken appropriate precautions.

The lawsuit, filed by Nagel, Rice, LLP of Roseland, cites the high rate of carjackings in Essex County, including four incidents at the mall, and the shopping center's proximity to major highways as risks the mall ignored when it stopped hiring more security personnel to save money.

"Despite these repeated incidents, and the grave threat posed to its shoppers and patrons, several years ago the mall ceased hiring police officers to produce security at the mall, citing budgetary concerns," the lawsuit reads. "In order to increase profits, the owners and operators of the mall elected to provide reduced security for its shoppers, patrons and invitees."

The lawsuit also names California-based Universal Protection Services LLC, which provides security services to the mall, and the Millburn First Aid Squad.

According to the lawsuit, the first aid squad "took an extended and excessive period of time" to reach Friedland after the first 911 call was made. The lawsuit claims the ambulance not being able to fit into the parking garage was one of the factors to the delay that should have been foreseen.

The ambulance's response time was initially questioned when 911 recordings were released in January of a frantic Jamie Friedland pleading for help. Additional 911 recordings revealed confusion where the ambulance was prior to arriving at the parking garage.

H. Steven Roth, the 2013 president of the Millburn-Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad, has called media reports "wrong" that stated it took 30 minutes for the ambulance to reach the parking garage.

However, Roth confirmed Millburn Police Chief Gregory Weber's timeline of events following the shooting, stating the ambulance arrived at the parking garage at 9:24 p.m. Weber said the ambulance reached the scene 18 minutes after the shooting and Friedland was headed to the hospital at 9:31 p.m.

It still remains unclear what took the ambulance the nearly 20 minutes to arrive on the scene.

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

Four Essex County men were arrested a week later for 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, who pleaded not guilty, have criminal records.

Marc A. March 22, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Some one commented that if the wife sues the mall, it will not affect anyone in the slightest; he is wrong. If the mall is sued and their insurance has to pay out millions of dollars, then their insurance will go up. The mall will be forced to hire armed security guards, which will cost thousands of dollars. Then the mall will raise the rent of the stores and restaurants, and they will in turn raise their prices. This is economics 101 for those who skipped that class.
stonette March 22, 2014 at 05:44 PM
It is a shame that SH Mall is so close to all the shit that NJ has to offer...
melina white March 22, 2014 at 06:09 PM
Marc A., I couldn't agree more. And I would add that even with the extra guards, etc an event like this can not be handily prevented.
dbc1 March 23, 2014 at 09:56 PM
I'd sue them too. What a bunch of stupid comments.
Phil Brooks March 23, 2014 at 10:46 PM
Jill, I'd like to think that, altruistically, you became a lawyer to defend those in need and to make sure the guilty get a fair trial. Realistically, however, altruism doesn't put food on your table. So, like the rest of us, you're in it for the money.

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