A judge has ruled against Nassau County's bid to dismiss a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of the Hofstra student who died in a 2013 off-campus police shooting after an armed home invasion.
But the judge's decision also dismissed parts of the lawsuit, including a claim that the shooting was the result of the county's negligence in training and supervising the officer who fired the bullet that killed student Andrea Rebello.
"The family is very happy with the decision and we're going forward with the litigation," Rebello family attorney David Roth of Manhattan told Newsday.
County and police officials declined to comment Tuesday on state Supreme Court Justice Karen Murphy's ruling, citing the ongoing litigation.
Rebello, a 21-year-old Hofstra junior from Tarrytown, died May 17, 2013, after a police bullet hit her in the head as, authorities said, an armed intruder used her as a human shield. An investigation by the Nassau district attorney's office found in 2014 that Officer Nikolas Budimlic was justified in using deadly force and ruled out criminal charges against him.
The officer also shot and killed gunman Dalton Smith, 30, of Hempstead. Prosecutors found in their 11-month probe that Smith had ignored orders to drop his gun and threatened to kill Budimlic and Rebello while alternately pointing his gun at each of them in the Uniondale rental home.
Rebello's family filed suit a year after the student's death, and its claims included that Budimlic carelessly discharged his gun and authorities recklessly endangered her. Her twin sister, Jessica Rebello, also had been inside the house and made it out alive.
The defendants have argued that the officers who responded to the house acted properly, the judge said in her June 16 decision.
Murphy called a claim that the shooting resulted from negligence on the part of the county in supervising and training Budimlic "nebulous" in dismissing that action from the lawsuit. Assault and battery claims also were among those she dismissed.
But the judge said a claim that the county negligently trained and supervised its police communications operators and negligently operated its police communications system can go forward.
The plaintiffs agreed to drop a claim that had alleged former Police Commissioner Thomas Dale intentionally inflicted emotional distress by failing to tell the Rebello family immediately that an officer had killed the student.