MIAMI (CBS4) – Another lawsuit has been filed on behalf of the family of a well-known executive chef killed in a hit and run rash on Collins Ave. in Miami Beach last month.
Stefano Riccioletti’s widow, Patrizia Pesce, is working with attorney Jose Baez on the civil litigation against the accused driver and a local night club.
“I feel very deeply for this family and I want to make sure that they receive justice,” Jose Baez said in an exclusive interview with CBS 4′s Lauren Pastrana. ”To me this is not just a case, it’s a cause.”
Baez filed the 16-page complaint Friday, a day after the victim’s oldest son filed a separate lawsuit.
Nikki Beach Hotels and Resorts, Penrod Brothers, Nikki Beach Special Events and Karlie Tomica were listed as defendants in the suit filed on behalf of Pesce and her children.
“He was the rock for everybody to lean on,” Pesce said of her husband.
“I haven’t stopped fielding calls from people saying such wonderful things about Stefano,” Baez said.
Many will remember Baez as the defense attorney who got Casey Anthony acquitted of murder in the death of her daughter, Caylee.
“I think I’m uniquely qualified in wrongful death cases because I have all that forensic experience that plays critical in these types of cases,” Baez explained.
Stefano Riccioletti was killed while on his way to work at the Shore Club on Miami Beach.
Police said 20-year-old Karlie Tomica was driving when she slammed in to Riccioletti and took off.
A Good Samaritan followed her and called police, investigators said.
The lawsuit claims management at Nikki Beach club allowed Tomica to drink alcohol while on the job as a bartender even though she is underage.
Her attorney, Mark Shapiro, issued a statement saying, “Ms. Tomica and her entire family are heartbroken over this tragic accident. Their thoughts and prayers are with the Riccioletti family.”
Shapiro did not comment directly on the lawsuit.
Steve Savola, General Counsel to Penrod Brothers, Inc., issued the following statement:
“Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Stefano Riccioletti and our hearts go out to his children. The principals of Penrod Brothers, Inc have been in business for well over 40 years, have had thousands of employees around the world and have never had a situation like this. Karlie Tomica was hired as a part-time bartender in mid-November 2012 and came with 4 years of experience in the hospitality industry; first at Palm City Grill (Palm City, Florida) and for the past 2 years as a cocktail server at Hyatt Regency Miami’s bar & lounge, Pure Verde, where she is still employed. Tomica signed all documents stating she would adhere to the strict policies that all employees must agree to. As we will only address factual information, we have no further comments at this time.”
Tomica has not been charged with DUI.
Investigators are waiting on toxicology results.
“I think it’s pretty easy to connect the dots here. You don’t need toxicology results to add on to evidence that’s already there,” Baez said.
Baez said he will also be acting as a victim’s advocate for the family during in the criminal case.