A Dane County judge decided Tuesday to proceed to a jury trial in the case of a property management company facing allegations by the family of slain University of Wisconsin junior Brittany Zimmermann that they failed to provide adequate security in the student’s residence.
Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi denied the motion and ruled the case would go before a jury because the facts of the case are too numerous and too complex to be addressed solely by a judge, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.
Zimmermann was found slain in her apartment on April 2, 2008, the victim of numerous stab wounds. In a series of investigations pertaining to the conduct of a 911 dispatcher, it was found there had been a number of missteps in the handling of the 911 call placed from Zimmermann’s cell phone.
The Zimmermann family brought a negligence claim against Wisconsin Management Company, the manager of 517 W. Doty St., Zimmermann’s residence at the time.
In a previous interview with The Badger Herald, representatives from the Madison Police Department said there had been forced entry into the apartment just prior to the murder.
Additionally, Brittany’s mother, Jean Zimmermann, had recalled having a conversation with her daughter and Brittany’s boyfriend, Jordan Gonnering, regarding a lack of secure locks and the condition of the doors.
Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, who continues to represent the area where the murder took place, said though he is not privy to the legal aspects of the case, he was in contact with the Zimmermann family and Gonnering following the murder.
“I believe that the victim’s family is making a claim that the safety and security of the property was lacking and the property manager was negligent of that,” Verveer said.
He added the city of Madison has an extensive collection of ordinances known as the Minimum Housing Code, which stipulates a property manager must adequately provide for the security of its properties and tenants.
Representatives from Wisconsin Management Company and the Zimmermann family were unavailable for comment as of press time.