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Family of woman, 85, Killed by Alligator Files Lawsuit

West Palm Beach, FL – The attorneys of Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith, PLLC filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Jan. 25, 2024, on behalf of the family of an 85-year-old woman who was killed by an alligator last year.
 
Gloria Serge was walking her dog, Trooper, along the lake behind her Spanish Lakes Fairways home in Fort Pierce on Feb. 20, 2023, when an alligator measuring more than 10 feet long grabbed onto her left foot and dragged her into the water, drowning her.
 
Her screams drew the attention of a neighbor who called 911 and pleaded with her to swim to shore. Gloria yelled out that the alligator had her by the leg before she disappeared beneath the surface.
 
Gloria, a beloved mother of 5, grandmother of 15 and great-grandmother of 9, lived in the community for more than 30 years and often walked Trooper down the street where neighbors were friendly and stopped to say hello.
 
When she received a letter from the property manager telling her that she was limited to walking Trooper on her property or the development-owned dog run that was nearly a mile from her home, Gloria started walking him in her backyard, which bordered a community lake.
 
The presence of large alligators in the lakes on the property was well known to the property manager, and this gator was no exception. In fact, evidence obtained by our firm will show that maintenance workers in the community routinely fed this alligator chicken scraps and even named the dangerous reptile “Henry.”
 
 “There were no signs posted around the lake warning residents of the presence of an alligator, and the property managers encouraged people to sit near the lake by placing a bench along the shoreline,” Managing Partner Gary S. Lesser said. “This flies in the face of common sense and warnings from wildlife experts.”
 
The presence of alligators presents such a danger to residents living near community lakes that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission developed a program specifically for ensuring the reptiles can be easily removed from communities like Spanish Lakes Fairways.
 
The Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program provides a toll-free hotline to report alligators that are believed to be a threat to people, pets or property. If the alligator measures at least 4 feet long, a trapper will take immediate action to remove the gator from the area.
 
At more than 10 feet long, “Henry” more than satisfied this requirement and could have been safely and effectively removed from Spanish Lakes Fairway with little more than a telephone call from the managers tasked with keeping the community safe.
 
“Property owners in Florida, and particularly those managing residential communities catering to elderly residents, have a legal and non-delegable duty to identify dangerous conditions on the property, warn those in the vicinity of the danger and take immediate steps to remove the threat,” Firm Partner Joshua D. Ferraro said. “Unfortunately, the managers at Spanish Lakes Fairways failed to live up to their obligations, and as a direct result, Gloria died a horrible and terrifying death.”
 
To view the complaint,  Click Here
 
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