Suit filed by Shannan Gilbert's mother mostly tossed by judge
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A Suffolk judge has dismissed much of a lawsuit filed by the mother of Shannan Gilbert, the prostitute whose disappearance at Gilgo Beach led to the discovery of numerous bodies there.
The ruling dismisses the wrongful death counts and numerous other parts of the suit against Dr. C. Peter Hackett, the last person known to have seen Gilbert, 24, alive before she apparently ran into the nearby marsh on May 1, 2010.
Her body wasn't discovered until that December, but by then, police looking for her found 10 other bodies, including other women who worked as prostitutes. Police said they were the victims of more than one killer. No arrests have been made.
On the night she disappeared, Gilbert, of Jersey City, made a frantic early-morning 911 call from the home of a client, Joseph Brewer, then pounded on Hackett's door, police have said.
The suit says Hackett, who now lives in Florida, claimed his house was a home for wayward girls and took her in, improperly gave her narcotic drugs to calm her, then let her leave in a helpless state.
Mari Gilbert, Shannan's mother, filed the suit last year, making wrongful death and other claims.
Hackett's attorney, James O'Rourke of Hauppauge, said none of the claims is true.
"My client has vigorously, persistently and consistently denied having anything to do with this poor girl's death," he said. "He never saw her. He never met her. He never treated her."
And O'Rourke said the idea that Hackett ran a home for wayward girls out of the house where he lived with his family is absurd.
"I mean, come on," he said. "This tragedy has nothing to do with Dr. Hackett."
State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Martin dismissed the wrongful death counts, noting that Mari Gilbert waited beyond the one-year statute of limitations to file such a suit. He also dismissed for the same reason claims that Hackett intentionally caused pain and suffering.
Still allowed to proceed are claims that Hackett misled Gilbert into believing he'd take care of her at his so-called home for wayward girls and that his medical malpractice and other actions led to her eventual death and caused pain and suffering to her and her family.
Gilbert's attorney, John Ray of Miller Place, did not respond to requests for comment. In a news release, he called the ruling "a major victory for the discovery of truth, for Shannan. We may be able to elicit new evidence that will lead to solving this case."