"After a thorough review of all available investigative records, it is clear that the Medical Examiner had no scientific or medical basis from which to conclude that Tiffany Valiante took her own life," said Mr. D'Amato. "Our investigation to date indicates – and the full story will emerge at trial – that the state's inquiry was flawed; it was unprofessional, uninformed, and relied on equally superficial investigative efforts by New Jersey Transit. The Medical Examiner's finding regarding manner of death – issued only five days after the incident - should unquestionably be retracted and nullified."
Ms. Valiante died as a result of catastrophic injuries sustained when she was struck by an unscheduled New Jersey Transit commuter train about 11 p.m. near the Tilton Ave. bridge in Galloway, more than four miles from her family home in Mays Landing. That weekend she was making preparations – mainly clothes shopping - to attend her first year at Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, New York), where she was awarded an athletic scholarship. An all conference volleyball player at Oakcrest High School and for the East Coast Crush Volleyball Club, she was heavily recruited by colleges and longed to play at the highest level – possibly someday in the Olympic games - while pursuing a career in criminal justice.
According to the complaint, investigators failed to interview numerous material witnesses, conduct a proper site investigation and examination of relevant physical evidence, including Ms. Valiante's cell phone history. Records yet to be provided by either the state or NJT will be subpoenaed during pre-trial discovery.
"Our daughter was a lot of things – including a loving daughter, sister, aunt, Godmother, an incredible teammate, great friend," said Dianne Valiante. "What she was not by all accounts was someone who had reason to take her own life. In volleyball, and in life, she lived above the net, reaching for the sky and the stars. She had everything to live for."
Allison Walker, Stockton University's women's volleyball coach, who also coached Ms. Valiante, added, "To know Tiffany was to love her as a player and a role model for her teammates. She was so looking forward to the start of college and playing against the very best competition. She was Olympic caliber, not just as a player, but as a person."
Paul R. D'Amato, D'Amato Law Firm / email@example.com/ 609.926.3300
Steph Rosenfeld / firstname.lastname@example.org / 215.514.4101
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SOURCE D'Amato Law Firm