The estate of Katie May, the former Playboy model who died in February 2016 at the age of 34 after a photoshoot accident, is suing chiropractor Dr. Eric Swartz for wrongful death.
The estate, held by Alex Maimon, the father of May’s daughter, Mia May-Maimon, is seeking unspecified damages and also notes that May’s eight-year-old daughter has been “traumatized” by the loss of her mother.
The wrongful death and medical malpractice lawsuit, filed Wednesday in Los Angeles Country Superior Court by Maimon, claims that the model would still be alive today if not for the chiropractor whose “forceful” and “aggressive” adjustments tore an artery in her neck and caused her fatal stroke.
The lawsuit, obtained by The Wrap, states that May died February 4, 2016 after chiropractor Swartz “negligently” treated her at the Back to Total Health Wellness Centre in West Hollywood.
“The carrier forced (Maimon) to file this action by refusing to attend a mediation to help Mia with some college money,” the paperwork reveals.
“Her death resulted from an injury sustained during a neck manipulation by chiropractor Defendant,” the lawsuit reads. “The coroner’s report confirms that the cause of death is due to infarction of the brain due to vertebral artery dissection due to blunt force injury of neck.”
The estate had previously sought a settlement from the chiropractor. Maimon was seeking a “seven-figure” payout from the chiropractor who “adjusted” May after a fall on set of a photoshoot.
“The coroner’s report takes the unusual but definitive step of concluding the chiropractor’s treatment was the cause and fact of Katie May’s death,” the estate’s lawyer, Ronald Richards, said in October 2016. “We have been in contact with a legal representative for the chiropractor and expect to submit a demand shortly with the chiropractor’s insurance carrier. We are hopeful that the chiropractor will want to resolve the matter to avoid further injury to all parties to this unfortunate tragedy.”
Richards told The Wrap on Wednesday that the estate was forced to file the complaint because the insurance company refused to attend a mediation it had agreed to.
“We have always tried to settle this case within policy limits. The carrier is trying to force a young girl to re-live the loss of her mother so they can procure a lower settlement. We have simply tried to secure for Mia a college fund and move on,” Richards said. “Instead of saving their insured and our client and her mother’s estate the pain of this litigation, they choose to force the issue. The result is the suit is now public and the chiropractor is exposed to a lot more damages then the policy.”
According to the Los Angeles coroner’s report, May died “from infarction of the brain along with vertebral artery dissection” and a “blunt force injury of the neck.” The model’s death has been ruled accidental with the cause of death stemming from “neck manipulation from a chiropractor.”
Pinched a nerve in my neck on a Photoshoot and got adjusted this morning. It really hurts! Any home remedy suggestions loves? XOXO
— Katie May (@Ms_katiemay) January 29, 2016
May had a huge presence on social media, with nearly two-million people following her on Instagram. She modelled for dozens of publications including Playboy and Sports Illustrated.
—With files from Chris Jancelewicz