Archive for the ‘Wrongful Death’ Category

Deadly Collision

November 7, 2007

Long Truong v. Cu Van Nguyen (California)
(Woman Died in Watercraft Collision on Lack; Court Ruled Primary Assumption of the Risk Barred Negligent Operation Claim and There was No Evidence of Negligent Entrustment)

The plaintiff was a passenger on a personal watercraft being operated on a lake. She was killed in a collision with another personal watercraft. Decedent’s parents filed a lawsuit alleging that the other rider was negligent in the operation of the personal watercraft and that the owner of the watercraft had negligently entrusted the watercraft to the other rider. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that the primary assumption of the risk doctrine precluded negligence liability because they had no duty to protect the decedent from the risks inherent in the activity of riding on a personal watercraft. Defendants also argued that there was no evidence of negligent entrustment. The trial court granted defendants’ motion, and the plaintiffs appealed.

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Parens Patriae (“Father of the People”)

September 18, 2007

Fields v. Kirton (Florida)
(ATV Fatality; Court of Appeal Makes a Statement Against Parents’/Guardians’ Rights to Waive/Release Negligence Liability on Behalf of Minor Participants in Recreation Activities; Conflict Created in the Law)

A fourteen (14) year old boy died in an all terrain vehicle (“ATV”) accident. His father had taken the boy to the defendant motorsports park without the knowledge of the boy’s mother. In order to gain entry into the park, the father signed a release and waiver of liability, assumption of risk, and indemnity agreement on behalf of his son, which (by its terms) protected the park from negligence-based liability. Thereafter, the boy attempted to complete a jump, but was ejected from the ATV. The ATV landed on top of him. He tried to get up, but collapsed and died. The boy had unsuccessfully attempted the same jump one month earlier, resulting in a fractured rib and mild concussion.

The boy’s parents filed a lawsuit against the park and its owners/operators, alleging negligence in the operation of the facility. The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the release agreement signed by the boy’s father. The trial court granted the defendants’ motion and the plaintiffs appealed. On appeal, the court reversed the trial court’s decision.

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Collision Course

June 20, 2007

Milne v. USA Cycling, Inc. (Utah)
(Mountain Bike Racer Collides with Truck During “Open Course” Race; Waiver and Release Precludes Liability for Ordinary Negligence; Gross Negligence Not Proven)

A participant in a mountain bike race suffered fatal injuries as a result of a collision with a truck. The defendants organized, promoted, and conducted the “open course” race in which the participants shared the race course with regular vehicle traffic. Decedent’s heirs filed suit claiming both ordinary negligence and gross negligence.

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