Lawsuit Dismissed in Beverly Carter’s Death

June 11, 2018

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the family of murdered real estate agent Beverly Carter against her brokerage, Crye-Leike. Carter’s husband and two sons filed the suit on Sept. 29, 2017—three days after the statute of limitations passed, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox ruled.

The lawsuit alleged that Crye-Leike had responsibility in Carter’s death, saying the brokerage failed its duty to properly train Carter to handle life-threatening dangers on the job. Carter’s family argued that the company should have taught independent contractors like Carter how to use safety devices and technology, such as mobile apps with GPS tracking and emergency contact functions.

Crye-Leike said it did not breach any duty owed to Carter and pointed out that members of its leadership assisted her family during the police search for her whereabouts, according to court documents. The company argued that Carter’s murder was outside the brokerage’s control, and as an agent, Carter set up her own appointments with clients.

Carter, 50, disappeared in September 2014 after showing a vacant home in a rural area outside Little Rock, Ark., to a couple who posed as home buyers. She was kidnapped and held for ransom, and days later, her body was found bound and buried in the woods behind a concrete plant. The assailants, Arron Lewis and his wife, Crystal Lowery, were convicted of Carter’s murder in 2016.  

The Carter family’s attorney argued that the statute of limitations on the case expired three years after Carter’s body was found and she was pronounced dead, which was Sept. 30, 2014. Crye-Leike, however, argued that the date of her kidnapping—Sept. 25, 2014—should mark the date of the statute of limitations. Further, Lewis and Lowery’s testimony revealed that Carter was killed Sept. 26, 2014, the company said.

Wrongful-Death Suit in Central Arkansas REALTOR®’s Killing Dismissed,” Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette (June 8, 2018)