Soon After Bob Saget's Wife And Daughters Filed Lawsuit, The Judge Has Already Taken Action

The beginning of 2022 still isn't all that far behind us, and yet this has already been an incredibly trying year for the family and friends of Full House vet and beloved comedian Bob Saget. His death in early January sent shock waves throughout Hollywood, and for the most part, the aftermath has been full of touching memories and inspirational anecdotes, as well as some good ole fashioned love. But not everything is so positive, unfortunately, as more attention and curiosity have surrounded the autopsy results and details behind his death, to the point where widow Kelly Rizzo and Saget’s daughters filed a lawsuit in Florida to block such sensitive information from going public. And in a day’s time, one judge has already provided an official response. 

On Tuesday, February 15, Kelly Rizzo and the three younger offspring — Aubrey, Jennifer and Lara — filed their lawsuit against Orange County Sheriff John Mina and the entirety of the District Nine Medical Examiner’s office. Both parties have been responsible for the investigation into Bob Saget’s death, which occurred in the actor’s Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes hotel room. And it appears one Circuit Judge has agreed that the lawsuit’s claims have value and impact because an early ruling was already put in place by Wednesday

In response to the lawsuit’s claims that Bob Saget’s family will “suffer irreparable harm” due to trauma and anguish if the investigation’s records were available for public viewing and journalistic use, Judge Vincent Chiu agreed with the claims made by Rizzo’s legal team, saying (via NBC News):

[The] plaintiffs have a clear legal right or interest in the Protected Records as the surviving spouse and children of Mr. Saget.

The lawsuit seeks to keep sensitive materials — such as photos, audio and video recordings and autopsy details — private and exempt from public use, specifically to counter requests being filed by several media outlets to gain access to the documents. The argument is that the records would not serve any public interest by being spread around, and it appears the Judge found legal standing in that sentiment. 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Office has not yet responded to the ruling, but the chairman for the Florida Medical Examiners Commission Dr. Stephen Nelson, who is the chief medical examiner in a neighboring Florida district, did offer a surprised reaction after the ruling came down. In his words:

The only records that would be exempt would be the autopsy report, toxicology report and things like that … I’m surprised the judge could countermand state law. Anything that we do that’s paid for with taxpayer dollars is a public record, except for those things for which there are a public-records exemption: photographs, video and audio recordings.

Indeed, while it’d be hard to argue that knowing details about any random person’s death would benefit the public at large, the fact that they are already considered public record does add some interesting context and potential precedence for the future. Still, this situation is hardly resolved to the fullest extent, so there may be more to come on this matter. 

The lawsuit was filed in the wake of Bob Saget’s autopsy report and cause of death being revealed, with “head trauma” as the cause. It was noted that there was skull fracturing consistent with someone suffering a fall and that he presumably went to sleep after it, without any drugs or alcohol involved. (Saget also posthumously tested positive for COVID-19, although it did not factor into the death.) The report came out a month after the actor passed, with the mournful anniversary being honored by Kelly Rizzo.

Here’s hoping there are more celebrations of Bob Saget’s life in the near future, and fewer legal disputes over his death. 

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.