Pretzel & Stouffer

Summary Judgment Granted in Defense of Brain Damage Claim

Exhibiting their versatility as advocates, Partners Matthew J. Egan and Matthew Ligda recently obtained summary judgment for their client, a farmer in Boone County, in the face of a policy limit settlement demand and the potential of liability exposure in excess of insurance coverage limits.

A motorcyclist sustained brain damage and other permanent injuries when he allegedly collided with livestock which had escaped from the defendant’s farm. The plaintiff claimed negligence and violation of a statute which imposes liability on property owners who fail to prevent their animals from “running at large.” In granting summary judgment, the Court ruled that the evidence was insufficient to show that the plaintiff’s injuries had been caused by livestock which escaped from the defendant’s farm and that the defendant had been placed on notice that his fencing system was inadequate to restrain his livestock. The victory came as particular relief to the firm’s client, whose insurance coverage was potentially inadequate in light of the magnitude and severity of the plaintiff’s injuries.

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