Electric shock suit filed too lateArea News
-- Saying she filed her lawsuit too late, St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack dismissed a claim by a woman who was injured by an electric shock when she touched a light post to steady herself as she stepped off a curb in downtown Hudson in 2009.
HUDSON, Wis. -- Saying she filed her lawsuit too late, St. Croix County Circuit Court Judge Edward Vlack dismissed a claim by a woman who was injured by an electric shock when she touched a light post to steady herself as she stepped off a curb in downtown Hudson in 2009.
Jean F. Conant-Winter filed a civil court claim against the city of Hudson on Aug. 24, 2012. She alleged she was injured Feb. 6, 2009, when she put her hand on a city-owned light post outside Mickelsen’s Drug Store.
Conant-Winter asked for compensation for a series of burn injuries and related physical problems.
Judge Vlack’s decision sets out the timeline. On May 4, 2009, Conant-Winter submitted a “notice of circumstances of claim” to the city. Almost three years later, on Feb. 6, 2012, she submitted a “notice of claim.” The city denied that claim on Feb. 27, 2012.
Wisconsin law requires that in the case of a claim against a government entity, written “notice of the circumstances of the claim” and an actual claim with an itemized statement of damages must be filed within 120 days of the incident.
Vlack found that while the “notice of circumstances of claim” was submitted on time, the “notice of claim” and “itemized statement of relief” was not.
Conant-Winter argued that her notice of claim was denied on Feb. 27, 2012; therefore she should have had six months from that date to file the civil lawsuit.
The judge pointed out that a lawsuit to recover damages for personal injuries must be started within three years.
But, wrote the judge, case law concludes that the appropriate statute of limitations for personal injury actions against a government entity is three years and 120 days.
Since the injury occurred on Feb. 6, 2009, concluded the judge, “Three years and 120 days would be June 6, 2012. (Conant-Winter) filed this action on Aug. 24, 2012, more than two months beyond the three year and 120 day applicable statute of limitations.”
Conant-Winter maintained that she was not fully aware of her injuries and their cause until she read an article in the Hudson Star-Observer of March 12, 2009.
If that was accurate, ruled the judge, she still missed the deadline for filing her lawsuit by about two months.
The Star-Observer reported on March 12, 2009, that at least another 13-year-old girl and two dogs were affected by the stray voltage incident during the 2009 Hot Air Affair parade. The city hired B&B Electric to do an inspection of all in-ground electrical junction boxes for street lights. Eric Fanetti of B&B said some of the junction boxes were not properly grounded.
One of the dog owners filed a claim for a veterinarian bill of $373. The city’s insurance company denied the claim and no lawsuit was ever filed.