Plaintiff argued cop might have been distracted in fatal crash
|Intersection, Motor Vehicle - Right Turn, Government - Municipalities, Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle - Cell Phone|
|Carmen A. Lemke as Personal Representative of the Estate of Richard L. Lemke v. City of Pinellas Park, No. 07-9989-CI-8|
|Pinellas County Circuit Court, 6th, FL|
|David A. Demers
- J. Troy Andrews; Andrews Law Group; Tampa, FL, for Richard L. Lemke, Carmen L. Lemke
- John W. Andrews; Andrews Law Group; Tampa, FL, for Richard L. Lemke, Carmen L. Lemke
- James L. YacavoneIII; Frazer, Hubbard, Brandt, Trask & Yacavone LLP; Dunedin, FL, for City of Pinellas Park
On Oct. 18, 2005, plaintiff Richard Lemke, 62, a retiree, was riding a motorized bicycle on U.S.19 near 80th Avenue when he was struck and killed by a Pinellas Park police cruiser.
Lemke's estate, represented by his wife, Carmen, sued Pinellas Park for motor vehicle negligence and wrongful death.
Plaintiff'scounsel contended that the Pinellas Park officer turned right into Lemke's bicycle, broadsiding his vehicle.
Plaintiff's counsel contended the accident took place on a clear afternoon with no obstructions.
Plaintiff's counsel contended that it was possible the driver of the police car was distracted. According to counsel, the officer was checking his voicemail on his cell phone about two minutes before the accident. Counsel further contended that at the time of the accident the officer had four screens open on his computer, including a chat window and one to complete some reports.
Plaintiff's expert in accident reconstruction opined that the officer had at least five seconds to react to Lemke.
Plaintiff's counsel further contended that Lemke was already in the intersection when the police cruiser crossed into the intersection. Plaintiff's counsel also contended that Lemke had a green light.
Defense counsel contended that Lemke proceeded into the intersection suddenly and without looking. Counsel also contended that Lemke was weaving through the road at the time of the accident.
Lemke was killed on the scene.
The only economic damages plaintiff's counsel sought was $10,000 in funeral costs.
Lemke's wife, Carmen, sought emotional distress damages. The Lemkes were married for more than 30 years. They were looking forward to spending their retirement years together.
The jury found the defendant 60 percent negligent and Lemke 40 percent negligent. The $2.01 million verdict was thus reduced to $1.206 million.
Carmen L. Lemke
$1,000,000 Wrongful Death: loss of support and services
$1,000,000 Wrongful Death: loss of companionship and pain and suffering
Richard L. Lemke
$10,000 Wrongful Death: Funeral Burial Expense
Motions had not been filed as of press time.
This report is based on information provided by plaintiff's counsel. Defense counsel did not respond to the reporter's phone calls.