Laguna Blanca School graduate Georgia Avery is suing the parents of former classmate and friend Cora Vides for negligence after Vides tried to kill Avery last February in what attorneys have described as a “mentally deranged” attack.
Avery’s identity, not previously disclosed, is revealed in the eight-page civil complaint filed in Santa Barbara Superior Court. She is represented by Los Angeles attorney Robert Stoll, who in 2014 secured a $2.5 million settlement for the family of Mallory Dies after Dies was hit and killed by congressional staffer Raymond Morua in a drunk driving accident.
Avery’s lawsuit alleges that Vides’s parents, Joshua and Patti Jeanne, knew of their daughter’s “mental illness and schizophrenic disorder” ― which had allegedly manifested in “prior incidents where Cora Vides had threatened and actually used sharp objects on herself and others” ― when they gave her a switchblade for her 18th birthday on February 8. Switchblades with blades longer than two inches are illegal to own in California. The blade of Cora’s knife was reportedly three to four inches long.
Just a few days later, on February 13, Cora used the knife to stab Avery in the neck, nearly severing her vocal cords. They were both Laguna Blanca seniors at the time and close friends who attended art club together. Avery survived but with “severe, gruesome, and permanent” injuries, the lawsuit states, both physical and emotional.
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Immediately after the attack, which occurred in the Vides family home while Joshua and Patti Jeanne slept, Cora confessed to police she was compelled to stab her friend by a mysterious “bad feeling” that she was “powerless” to control. Cora was charged with attempted murder and is currently out on $1 million bail. Her criminal case remains in its early stages.
In legal strategy that mainly targets Joshua and Patti Jeanne ― likely because their assets, not Cora’s, would be able to cover the substantial punitive damages that will be demanded ― Avery and attorney Stoll are arguing that Cora was so mentally ill at the time that she “did not know what she was doing was wrong.” Her parents bear the responsibility for the crime, they claim, as they failed to protect Avery from the actions of their “dangerous” and “disabled” daughter. Joshua is a finance director for Microsoft and, in addition to their home on the Mesa, the family owns a second house in Sammamish, Washington.
The Vides family recently filed a motion to delay the lawsuit until Cora’s criminal case concludes. In a tentative ruling handed down this week, Judge Colleen Sterne agreed that Cora has the right against self-incrimination, which would be infringed upon in the criminal matter if she were required to provide information during the discovery phase of the civil action. Any lawsuit proceedings against Cora will be paused, Strene ruled, but the complaint may proceed against her parents, she said.