Wisconsin Court of Appeals
Torts – negligence — public policy
Where a passenger was thrown from a vehicle into the road after a car accident, and run over by another vehicle, public policy precludes imposing tort liability against the driver of a second vehicle that drove over the corpse in the road.
“While the Kidds have brought a negligent mutilation claim, the damages they seek are for their own alleged long-standing and nontransitory emotional distress and the resulting physical injuries, such as throat problems, extended and significant weight loss, continuing digestive issues and nausea, sleep issues, headaches and daily fatigue. The Kidds’ focus on the sequence of events after Allaway’s alleged negligence ignores that the Kidds lost their teenage daughter in a terrible head-on collision during which she was killed instantly, ejected from the car, landed on the road and was hit and dragged by not one, but two, vehicles. It is the entire sequence of events that results in an indirect and broken chain of causation between Allaway’s alleged negligence and the Kidds’ alleged severe emotional distress and resulting physical injuries.”
“It is that same sequence of events which renders recovery for the Kidds’ alleged emotional and physical injuries wholly disproportionate to the alleged culpability of Allaway. The Kidds seek to hold Allaway fully responsible, not only for their daughter’s mutilation, but ultimately for their emotional and physical injuries. The Kidds allege that Allaway’s actions were a substantial factor in causing their daughter’s mutilation and that the first vehicle’s impact was not. Notably, the Kidds’ complaint is brought against Allaway alone; they are silent as to the extent of damage to Krista’s body caused by the head-on collision which destroyed both vehicles and her subsequent ejection onto the roadway. This simply cannot be discounted—both in terms of the physical injuries to Krista’s body and the cause of the Kidds’ emotional distress.”
Recommended for publication in the official reports.
Dist. II, Washington County, Gonring, J., Neubauer, J.
Attorneys: For Appellant: Patrykus, Daniel P., West Bend; Lanning, Chad A., West Bend; For Respondent: Banks, Emile H., Jr., Milwaukee; Kurth, Patti J., Milwaukee