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Case of the Month January 2021

Jury Awards $200K for Rear-End MVA

Zanjl v. Gaedtke

Case Type:
Vehicle Negligence - Rear-End Collision
Vehicle Negligence - Intersection


Specific Liability:
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol

General Injury:
Moderate Brain Damage; Sexual Dysfunction

Jurisdiction:
State: Wisconsin
Circuit Court of Wisconsin, Third Judicial District, Ozaukee County.

Related Court Documents:
Plaintiff's second amended complaint: 2018 WL 11206042
Stipulation and order to pay policy limits: 2015 WL 13881007
Plaintiff's pretrial report: 2019 WL 10733928
Defendant's response to plaintiff's pretrial brief (Gaedtke): 2019 WL 10733927
Joint statement of the case: 2019 WL 10733932
Special verdict: 2019 WL 10733922
Order for dismissal: 2020 WL 5775894

Case Name:
Zankl v. Gaedtke; Auto-Owners Ins. Co.

Docket/File Number:
2015-CV-000038

Result Amount:
$200,000


Result Date:
November 21, 2019

Judge:
Joseph W. Voiland

Attorneys:
Plaintiff: Timothy S. Knurr, Gruber Law Offices L.L.C., Milwaukee, WI
Plaintiff: Randall L. Rozek, Rozek Law Offices S.C., Milwaukee, WI
Defendant: Joseph F. Owens, Law Offices of Joseph F. Owens L.L.C., New Berlin, WI
Defendant: Richard E. Schmidt, Piper, Schmidt & Wirth, Milwaukee, WI

Result Type:
Jury

Experts:
Plaintiff: Neuropsychologist: Young, Terry, Psy.D., Milwaukee, WI
Plaintiff: Neurologist: Benson, Randall, M.D., Center for Neurological Studies, Novi, MI
Plaintiff: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor: Schutz, Kevin, M.S., Professional Rehabilitation Services Ltd., Madison, WI
Defendant: Not Reported

Breakdown of Award:
Compensatory Pain & Suffering: $200,000
Total Compensatory Award: $200,000
Comparative Negligence Percentage: 0

Summary of Facts:
Joseph Zankl, a 50-year-old male, claimed he suffered a traumatic brain injury that resulted in hypothalamic dysfunction, cognitive dysfunction, erectile dysfunction, sleep disturbances, mood swings, tinnitus, and headaches, and also suffered neck spasms, right hand numbness, and polyarthralgia when he stopped his vehicle at a stop sign on a highway and defendant Dennis Gaedtke, an underinsured and intoxicated driver, rear-ended his vehicle. The plaintiff contended Gaedtke was negligent and negligent per se in operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, failing to stop for a stop sign, and driving recklessly. The plaintiff further contended Gaedtke intentionally disregarded his rights. The plaintiff alleged defendant Auto-Owners Insurance Company (Auto-Owners) issued him a policy of insurance with underinsured motorist coverage and failed to honor the provisions of that policy. Gaedtke reportedly admitted to the negligent operation of a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol but disputed the plaintiff's claim for punitive damages. Auto-Owners denied liability and both defendants disputed the extent of the plaintiff's alleged injuries and damages.

Circuit Court of Wisconsin, Third Judicial District, Ozaukee County.

Westlaw Citation:
2019 WL 10948607


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