Family of Rebecca Zahau files wrongful death lawsuit - Tucson News Now

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Family of Rebecca Zahau files wrongful death lawsuit

Dina Shacknai  (Source: CBS 5 News) Dina Shacknai (Source: CBS 5 News)
Max Shacknai (Source: CBS 5 News) Max Shacknai (Source: CBS 5 News)
SAN DIEGO (CBS5) -

A California judge says the family of Rebecca Zahau can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

Zahau's naked body was found hanging from a rope in the historic Spreckels Mansion in Coronado, CA, three years ago.

She was living with Valley millionaire, pharmaceutical tycoon Jonah Shacknai.

While the 32-year-old's death was ruled a suicide, her family claims it was murder.

The lawsuit claims Shacknai's ex-wife, Dina Shacknai, and his brother, Adam Shacknai, conspired to cover up her death.

They were never named as suspects by investigators.

Zahau was found dead just days after investigators said Jonah and Dina Shacknai's son, Max, fell down the mansion's stairs. He later died.

The lawsuit asks for $10 million in damages.

Dina Shacknai's attorney Kim Schumann released this statement following the ruling:

"The court's ruling is not a statement as to whether or not the allegations are truthful, or proper, or even have any basis in fact. The complaint only contains allegations, and no evidence has been presented to the court to support these allegations. These are simply unsupported assertions by the Plaintiffs who, in this beginning phase of the litigation, are able to allege almost whatever they want. The general public needs to be aware that the court did not determine or substantiate the accuracy of these allegations in making its ruling. The Plaintiffs obviously wish to portray their allegations in a light that will support their claims for recovery of money. We have no doubt that when the actual facts are made known, Ms. Shacknai and her sister will be vindicated regarding any involvement related to Rebecca Zahau's tragic death."

"Let me be perfectly clear. This is a baseless and senseless lawsuit. Our client Dina Shacknai's reputation has been irreparably damaged by these allegations. We intend to swiftly and aggressively put an end to this matter by every legal means necessary, and will be taking appropriate steps to remedy Ms. Shacknai's reputational damages and the harm done to the judicial process."

In June 2012, Dina Shacknai announced a new nonprofit to honor her son and to help children in need. Dina Shacknai said the organization, called Maxie's H.O.U.S.E., provides: Hope, Outreach, Understanding, Safety and Education and is intended to be a resource center serving parents, children, the public, caregivers and lawmakers to ensure the safety of children living in blended households.

Stay with cbs5az.com for updates on the lawsuit.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved. 

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    CONTINUING COVERAGE

    READ: Shacknai: Independent investigation refutes son's 'accidental' death (8/6/12) READ: Son of Scottsdale CEO dies after fall at mansion (7/18/12) READ: Tycoon's ex-wife: Family dog played part in
    READ: Shacknai: Independent investigation refutes son's 'accidental' death (8/6/12) READ: Son of Scottsdale CEO dies after fall at mansion (7/18/12) READ: Tycoon's ex-wife: Family dog played part in
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