LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Survivors of an 82-year-old woman who died while waiting for her air conditioner to be fixed have filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that sold her a home warranty policy.
Virginia DeSapio was found dead on Aug. 22 in her Henderson home near Valle Verde Drive and Paseo Verde Parkway. When the coroner arrived, it was 120 degrees inside the home, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Clark County District Court.
The lawsuit names Fidelity National Home Warranty Company and seeks damages for causes including negligence, breach of contract and wrongful death. Surviving nephews Gregory S. Kelley, Troy X. Kelley and Gregory DeSapio are plaintiffs in the lawsuit, along with estate co-special administrator Janice Gonzalez. They are represented by Christian Morris Trial Attorneys of Henderson.
Her death certificate states her cause of death as “environmental heat stress” caused by “prolonged exposure to elevated ambient temperatures.” The death certificate also indicates she had lung cancer.
The lawsuit describes an ordeal that began on Aug. 11, 2022, when DeSapio’s air conditioner stopped working. She notified the home warranty company.
Nevada law includes an air conditioning failure as a problem requiring an emergency fix, but the lawsuit alleges a response that took much longer than required — and a completion date that was 14 days after Virginia DeSapio was found dead.
Repeated communications from Fidelity show that even the first communication stating it would take longer than three days to make repairs came after five days had already passed. In all, the lawsuit alleges Fidelity sent five statements saying the repairs would take longer than the three-day requirement — starting on Aug. 16 and ending on Sept. 1.
The company’s reason? “Technician researching pricing” to begin with, and “parts on order” starting on Sept. 1, the lawsuit states.
DeSapio’s home warranty policy cost her $635 per year. It covered “heating, air conditioning, evaporative coolers, and duct work,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit seeks general and special damages, punitive damages, “nominal and liquidated” damages (the amounts specified in the original contract), interest and attorney’s fees.