NATCHITOCHES, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The family of slain NSU football player Ronnie Caldwell Jr. has filed for wrongful death and negligence against Northwestern State University, the former football coach, and the apartment complex where he was housed.
The lawsuit underscores that The Quad Apartment Complex had prior knowledge of criminal activities, making Ronnie Caldwell Jr.’s death foreseeable.
The case describes Caldwell Jr.’s character, hopes, and dreams and how he came to play for NSU.
In early October, Caldwell Jr. was transferred to the new apartment, The Quad Apartment Complex, with a fellow NSU Football teammate who was later connected to Ronnie’s demise.
However, according to the lawsuit, Caldwell Jr. moved away from his original teammate after discovering mold in his apartment.
In his transfer to a new apartment within the same complex, Caldwell Jr. was placed with a new roommate, John McIntosh, a 27-year-old, non-university, non-college student. According to the lawsuit, “during their short time period living together, they had a series of verbal altercations.”
On October 9, McIntosh held Caldwell Jr. at gunpoint and notified his father immediately. Afterward, NSU Head Football Coach Brad Laird communicated with his father, Caldwell Sr., that he would take ‘expedient action and move’ him to a safe location.
Three days later, Caldwell Sr. received a call at 2:07 a.m. from Coach Laird informing him that his son had been murdered.
The fateful date of October 12, 2023 will forever be the worse day of Plaintiffs Ronald Caldwell Sr. and Blanche Bradley’s lives. On that tragic day, their beloved son, Ronnie was violently murdered while he was at The Quad Apartment Complex (“The Quad”) located at 3800 University Parkway, Natchitoches, Louisiana 71457. At the time of his murder, Ronnie was an exceptional student and adored member of the Northwestern State University (“NSU”) football team.Exerpt of Caldwell v. State of Louisiana Lawsuit
Parents and Plaintiffs Ronald Caldwell Sr. and Blanche Bradley filed their lawsuit on November 4th.
Each count is substantiated by claims from the plaintiffs relevant to each defendant’s responsibility and obligation to provide for Ronnie’s and all students’ safety.
Count 1 – Premises Liability as The Quad Apartment Complex by and through Campus Advantage, Inc. for negligence.
Allegedly, “at the time of Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.’s death, the entry gate was broken and not monitored, and there were no security guards on the premises.’
The lawsuit emphasizes that ‘The Quad’ and Campus Advantage failed to maintain the apartment’s safe condition; (2) failed to monitor the apartment adequately; (3) tolerate individuals who commit criminal acts; (4) failed to engage in reasonable physical measures – security cameras, guards and gates; (5) failed to ‘take meaningful steps to deter crime or secure the apartment complex.’
Count 2 – Survival and Wrongful Death as to the failures by The Quad Apartment Complex and Northwestern State University.
Caldwell Jr.’s parents, the plaintiffs, list seven arguments against NSU and The Quad ‘for negligence for their failure to act.’
“Plaintiffs incorporate by reference each and every paragraph of the facts and allegations stated in this Original Complaint as if fully pleaded at length herein.
Defendants are hereby liable unto Plaintiffs for negligence for their failure to act as follows:
a. Failure to maintain adequate safety precautions to prevent a risk of harm to Ronnie Caldwell Jr. and other similarly situated persons;
b. Failure to have proper safety measures and security procedures to prevent the risk of harm Ronnie Caldwell Jr.;
c. Failure to have proper measures in place to prevent injurious acts by non-residents or non-students at Northwestern State University;
d. Failure to properly enforce safety and security measures to prevent risks of harm to Ronnie Caldwell Jr.;
e. Failure to have proper staff on premises to prevent injuries to Ronnie Calwell Jr. from other students and/or non-students on the premises;
f. Failure to provide adequate security in light of prior violent criminal activity occurring at The Quad Apartment Complex; and
g. Any other acts of negligence as may be proven at the trial of this matter.
Because of the known prior criminal activity afoot at The Quad Apartment Complex, Ronnie Caldwell Jr.’s death was a foresseable act.
As a direct and proximate result of Defendant’s negligent actions and inaction, Ronnie endured great physical and mental pain and suffering until he died, and his surviving parents have suffered and will suffer grief, loss of love, affection, companionship, comfort, services, and support.Exerpt of Caldwell v. State of Louisiana Lawsuit (read full lawsuit below).
Count 3 – Vicarious Liability as to the State of Louisiana through the Board of Supervisors of NSU on behalf of Brad Laird as an employee of NSU.
The lawsuit notes The State of Louisiana, through the Board of Supervisors of Northwestern State University, is liable for Brad Liard’s “negligent actions and inactions that led to the death of Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.”
The lawsuit amount is undisclosed. However, in the jurisdictional breakdown, the damages “exceed $75,000.”
The Plaintiff’s request for financial compensation for the ‘mental anguish that they each suffered’ and continue to suffer as a result of losing their son prematurely ‘shows the Defendants’ actual and subject awareness of the dangers.’
Plaintiff’s Ronald Caldwell Sr., and Blanche Bradley request that the following damages be considered seperately and individually for the purpose of determining the sum of money that would reasonably compensate them for:
a. the mental anguish that they each suffered in the past and will continue to suffer in the future as a result of the death of their son, Ronnie Caldwell Jr.;
b. the pecuniary loss resulting from the death of Ronnie Caldwell Jr., including loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice, counsel and contributions of pecuniary value that each of them would, in all reasonable probability have recieved from Ronnie Caldwell Jr. during his lifetime;
c. the loss of household services that they each suffered in the past and will continue to suffer in the future as a result of the death of their son, Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.;
d. the loss of inheritance that each of them would, in all reasonable probability would have recieved from Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.;
e. the loss of companionship and society that each of them has suffered in the past and will contine to suffer in the future as a result of the death of their son, Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.;
f. the loss of consortium, including the right to love, affection, solace, comfort, emotional support and happiness that each of them has suffered in the past and will contine to suffer in the future as a result of the death of their son, Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.;
g. the funeral expenses they incurred as a result of the death of their son, Ronnie Caldwell, Jr.Exerpt of Cadwell v. State of Louisiana Lawsuit (read full lawsuit below).
When contacted about the lawsuit, NSU expressed, “We are aware of the lawsuit filed by the family of Ronnie Caldwell. While we cannot comment on the lawsuit at this time, our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Ronnie’s family following this terrible tragedy.”
The plaintiffs requested a trial by jury submitted by Daniel Williams & Associates PLLC and The Cox Pradia Law Firm PLLC.
The Plaintiff’s attorneys were contacted and were unavailable to comment.