Parents of HUMC nurse killed by drunk driver in Jersey City crash file wrongful death suit


The parents of a Hackensack University Medical Center nurse who was killed by a drunk driver two years ago have filed a wrongful death suit against numerous entities for allegedly negligent behavior that contributed to the head-on collision.

Adriana Riano. Photo via GoFundMe.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

According to the suit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court on May 5th, Jonathan Ortiz-Guananga was at a party hosted at a Jersey City Airbnb rental before attempting to drive home.

” … Defendants … did share, encourage, and or facilitate the consumption of alcoholic beverages by Defendant, Ortiz-Guananga, to the point of visible intoxication and did continue to provide, share, encourage and/or facilitate the consumption of alcoholic beverages while he was visibly intoxicated,” the court filing says.

Ortiz-Guananga was sentenced to nine years in prison this past October after pleading guilty to causing the May 5th, 2019 crash on Paterson Plank Road that killed Adriana Riano, 32.

In addition to suing the hosts of the party, Arman Rousta, Rhys Balmarte, as well as Airbnb, the six-count suit also names Ford, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the Hudson County government, and the City of Jersey City, among others.

In the case of Ford, “defective and dangerous” Takata airbags that were subject to a recall are cited as a key reason that Riano didn’t survive the crash.

“Defendants knew or reasonably should have known that the Takata airbags were unreasonably dangerous and defective when used as directed and as designed and failed to warn customers of this dangerous condition thus breaching a duty to Plaintiff,” the lawsuit alleges.

As for the government entities, they are cited for negligent construction, design, and/or maintenance of the roadway, along with failure to post and/or maintain emergency signals/devices.

Riano’s parents, Henry and Melba, through the suit also note that they “have sustained and will continue to sustain harm, losses of services, society, comfort, guidance and support, injury and damage as a result of the death of Plaintiff.”

They are seeking a jury trial and are being represented by Natalie Zammitti Shaw, a partner at the Fort Lee-based office of Rosemarie Arnold.

A GoFundMe page for Adriana Riano described her as “a loving daughter, sister, girlfriend, friend, and one amazing nurse” and has raised $42,753 to date from 661 donors.

Multiple plaintiffs declined to comment, citing ongoing litigation.

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