Five plaintiffs who attended a mud race at a venue located just outside Eau Claire, Wisconsin sustained injuries when a mud racing vehicle left the mud racing track and entered the area where they were observing the race. The plaintiffs sued the driver of the mud racing vehicle claiming that he failed to maintain control of his vehicle. The plaintiffs also sued the owner of the venue where the races were being held and the sanctioning body of the races, claiming each failed to properly construct or maintain the mud racing track and ensure spectator safety. HKM represented the sanctioning body. On the first day of trial, the plaintiffs settled their claims with the driver of the mud racing vehicle. After a week-long trial, the jury returned a defense verdict finding that the accident was not foreseeable and neither the property owner nor sanctioning body were negligent.
One of the plaintiffs appealed the jury verdict claiming: (1) evidence of a prior track accident was improperly excluded; (2) the Appellant’s prior motion for mistrial based on certain closing statements was erroneously denied; and (3) the Appellant’s accident reconstruction expert’s testimony was improperly limited. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals rejected the Appellant’s arguments and affirmed the circuit court on all grounds. Regarding the prior track accident, it agreed the prior accident was of little value and properly excluded because the accident was both significantly different than the present accident and track operators made certain modifications after the prior accident. The Court of Appeals also agreed with the district court concluding that certain closing arguments were neither false nor prejudicial to the Appellant, and the motion for mistrial was properly denied. Finally, Appellant’s accident reconstruction expert had no experience with mud racing vehicles or mud track design and therefore had his testimony properly limited.
Krista Pezewski focuses her trial practice in the areas of product liability, commercial litigation, transportation litigation and insurance related litigation. She has represented a wide variety of clients from large corporations, including agricultural, commercial, and home appliance equipment manufacturers, to small businesses and individuals. She has handled a wide variety of claims including wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury claims, warranty disputes, contract claims, claims for lost profit or business income, issues of insurance coverage, and other general litigation matters up to and through trial. Krista is licensed to practice in Minnesota state and federal courts, Wisconsin, and the Eastern and Western Districts of Wisconsin.
Casey Suszynski is an attorney in HKM’s Civil Litigation Group, focusing her practice primarily on products liability, insurance law and civil litigation. She also has experience in business law, negotiations, property disputes, construction defect cases and collections. Casey is licensed to practice in Minnesota and Wisconsin state courts, as well as the U.S. District Court of Wisconsin, Eastern and Western Districts.