EVERETT — A judge dismissed a set of defendants Wednesday from a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the brother of Anna Bui, one of three college-age friends murdered at a Mukilteo house party in 2016.
A Snohomish County Superior Court judge granted a motion to end the part of the case seeking damages from the family who owned the Mukilteo home where the shootings occurred. The complaint was filed in October by David Bui, acting as the personal representative for his sister’s estate. His attorney argued the couple who owned the house could be held liable because alcohol was served to minors during the party, leaving Anna Bui intoxicated and vulnerable to attack.
The lawsuit is still pending against convicted killer Allen Ivanov, his parents and the store where he bought the AR-15-style rifle he used in the shootings.
“This is a tragic case and my heart goes out to the Bui family and the other families that were involved,” Judge Millie Judge said during the hearing.
However, Judge agreed with the argument by the attorney for Karl and Victoria Bratvold, whose son Tristan hosted the party at their home on 64th Place West. The parents weren’t there that night.
Mike Kyllo, of Seattle firm McGaughey Bridges Dunlap, filed the motion to dismiss. Kyllo reasoned that this case, involving an act of murder by a third party, differs from situations such as those where alcohol can be shown to have contributed to someone drowning or getting killed in a crash.
“The court finds that there was no such duty, that this was not a foreseeable type of harm,” Judge said.
The complaint described how Anna Bui was the only victim shot inside the home. It alleges that her state of intoxication prevented her from running away, though other people seated with her at a dining room table were able to escape.
The plaintiff’s attorney, Erica Buckley of Seattle, said she was disappointed at the ruling, which prevents her from arguing the merits of the case under a relevant state law. Buckley noted that her client has the right to appeal.
“I believe a minor’s ability to protect him or herself is something that would have been envisioned and would have been protected under that statute,” she said.
The Bui lawsuit also seeks damages from Cabela’s, the outdoor retailer. The company’s Quil Ceda Village store sold Ivanov the rifle a few days before he used it in the killings.
The case is one of two pending wrongful death suits involving the shootings. Another was filed in June by the mother of Jacob Long, one of the murdered teens. That case is working its way through Snohomish County Superior Court and only names Ivanov and his parents as defendants.
In court papers responding to the allegations, Ivanov’s mother clarified that he is her biological son, not adopted. She knew her son had bought a rifle but not the details about what kind, she said.
In the amended response, the Ivanovs’ attorneys say they may argue to move the civil case to another county. They have asked the court to dismiss both lawsuits.
Also killed in the shootings was Jordan Ebner. The slain were all 19 at the time, as was Ivanov. A fourth teen was shot and survived.
The Bratvolds’ son attended Kamiak High School with Ivanov and the people he shot. In 2017, they sold the house where the shootings occurred.
Ivanov, 22, is serving a life sentence at the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla.
Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @NWhaglund.
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