On Friday September 25, 2009, Attorney Michael Crowley of the Janssen Law Firm presented testimony from Nancy Huntzinger and other evidence before Superior Court Judge John Feeney regarding the wrongful death damages in her lawsuit against Defendant Stephen Hash, who killed her then fourteen year old son, Curtis Huntzinger, in 1990. Judge Feeney awarded Ms. Huntzinger a 3.6 million dollar wrongful death judgment commenting to her in court, “Clearly, no monetary judgment can compensate you for the loss of your son,” and offered his condolences for her loss.
More than eighteen years after Curtis Huntzinger went missing, last seen on his way home from Arcata High School, Defendant Stephen Hash finally confessed to the crime and led law enforcement investigators to the location of the body, in December 2008. Hash pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and received eleven years in state prison. Although Defendant Hash was personally served with the wrongful death lawsuit while in state prison, he failed to appear to defend himself and Mr. Crowley entered his default. That cleared the way for presentation of damages to Judge Feeney at a damages hearing.
During the damages hearing, Ms. Huntzinger not only described the loss of care, comfort and companionship she suffered from the loss of her son, but emotionally referred to a metal ring with a crucifix on it that was found on Curtis’ finger. Ms. Huntzinger testified that when saw that ring she knew this was her son.
In arguing the case for damages to the court, Mr. Crowley suggested that, at a minimum, an amount of $200,000 for each of those eighteen years as a reasonable and conservative estimate of damages. That approach is one that the court agreed with, and is reflected in the court’s judgment.
The judgment against Defendant Hash has been recorded, and now the Janssen Law Firm will proceed in its efforts to collect on that judgment for Ms. Huntzinger.
The Huntzinger case illustrates the focus of the Janssen Law Firm: obtaining justice for our clients, whatever challenges the case may present.
Eureka Times Standard writer Thadeus Greenson extensively followed this case as a journalist, and his articles regarding the case can be found here. Rissa Shaw from KIEM - Channel 3 News, in Eureka, has also extensively covered this case and the story as it unfolded; she can be reached through Channel 3 News in Eureka.