- Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:03
- Published on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 01:03
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Jury selection was set to begin this week in Westmoreland County Circuit Court in the civil trial of Westmoreland County restaurant owner Stephen Anderson, accused in a $10 million wrongful death lawsuit of being responsible for the death of his wife, 49-year-old Sally Rumsey.
Rumsey was found dead in a snow bank near her home on Feb. 9, 2010, an apparent victim of exposure. She went outside during a winter storm without a coat, hat or gloves on Feb. 5, and disappeared. Anderson reported her missing on Feb. 7.
The lawsuit was filed in the case by Sarah Thrift, Rumsey’s eldest daughter from a previous marriage. The suit seeks to end Andersen’s control over the popular restaurant Good Eats in Kinsale, and other properties he and his late wife co-owned. Rumsey’s share of the restaurant was willed to him upon her death.
The Westmoreland County death certificate issued after the discovery of Rumsey’s body lists her death as a suicide, caused by “hypothermia due to environmental cold exposure.” Authorities found a wine bottle and a bottle of Ambien prescription medicine near the body.
An autopsy indicated that Rumsey had “three or four times the therapeutic dose” of Ambien in her bloodstream, as well as a blood alcohol level of .09. Anderson has denied any involvement in Rumsey’s death.
Thrift’s suit against Anderson, however, claims he “was and is directly responsible for the death of Rumsey through his negligent or intentional acts.” In addition to seeking Rumsey’s share of the Good Eats Cafe on Cople Highway in Kinsale, the suit seeks $10 million in damages from Anderson.
A seven-person jury will be selected and asked to determine during a three-day trial in Westmoreland County Circuit Court this week whether Andersen had a role in the death of his wife and business partner, or whether the suit against him is without merit.