Archive for Friday, June 10, 2011

Attorneys ask judge to remove city from lawsuit involving death of former KU Athletic Director Bob Frederick

June 10, 2011


Attorneys for the city of Lawrence are asking a judge to remove the city from a lawsuit involving the 2009 death of former Kansas University Athletic Director Bob Frederick.

City attorneys say depositions in the case have proved the city wasn’t responsible for a pothole that caused Frederick’s accident.

Plaintiff’s attorneys representing Frederick’s family say they are largely not opposed to a judge removing the city from the suit as long as any of the three co-defendants is not alleging the city was at fault.

A judge’s consideration of the city’s request for summary judgment comes nearly two years to the day since Frederick, 69, died, June 12, 2009, one day after he suffered injuries after his bicycle struck a hole near Sixth Street and Kasold Drive.

The Frederick family alleges in the suit that Black Hills Energy, the city and subcontractors were negligent in completing repair work on pavement at the intersection. According to the suit, Black Hills was working in the area weeks before the accident and had received a permit from the city for the work. Two other subcontractors — Concrete Inc. of Lawrence and Underground Systems Construction Inc. — were added as defendants later.

Jerry Cooley, an attorney representing the city, in past court motions argued that a franchise agreement with Black Hills saved the city from any liability under a claim.

Both the city and Black Hills have denied any negligence.

Attorneys Lynn Johnson and David Morantz filed the suit in Douglas County District Court in 2010, and, aside from a few hearings, attorneys representing all sides have spent their time taking depositions of people involved.

Cooley wrote in his motion for summary judgment that evidence discovered in the case supports several factors that should remove the city from the plaintiff’s claims.

For one, the city was accused of failing to repair the pothole, but Cooley said there is no evidence the city knew about the pothole and had reasonable time to repair it.

The city alleges the hole was created May 20, 2009, during work by Black Hills and subcontractors in the area and that work was not yet completed at the site even one day after Frederick’s accident.

“Finally, there is no evidence that anyone reported the ‘pothole’ to defendant city or that it was of such a nature that defendant city should have known of it,” Cooley wrote.

The city also argues it cannot be sued for failing to inspect work at the site because it alleges other co-defendants were negligent and caused the pothole.

Douglas County District Judge Robert Fairchild is expected to conduct a hearing on the city’s motion to be removed from the case later this summer.


Floyd Craig 6 years, 11 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 11 months ago

Indeed, Bob was smart. You clearly do not share this attribute with him.

JimmyJoeBob 6 years, 11 months ago

If the pothole was that huge he should have stopped. Accidents happen and it doesn't necessarily mean somone has to be sued. Bob has to take some responsibility for his actions. He was a great man for Lawrence and the University and he is greatly missed but his bike riding skill left a lot to be desired.

Jock Navels 6 years, 11 months ago

bob should have to take all the responsibility for his actions. sorry he had the accident and condolences to the family etc etc, but suing over it is an example of whiny entitlement deserving american weakness. what? something bad happened to me...oh, blame somebody else.

JimmyJoeBob 6 years, 11 months ago

I said he should have stopped if it was that large. It was at an intersection so he should not have been going that fast. I said I had great respect for Bob. I don't believe he would be blaming people for his own actions.

Robert Rauktis 6 years, 11 months ago

If it allows an automobile, it should allow a bike. Tie always goes to something other than the cyclist. Makes for the adventure. Otherwise, maybe you shouldn't be there and it's bad luck. Like suing a cloud for lightning.

BruceWayne 6 years, 11 months ago

Core-less killed Dr. Bob, just as he murdered those two men at magnagro.

Patrick Rooney 6 years, 11 months ago

You can't see a large hole as many of you put it coming? Once before I die can someone on here actually have discussion without name calling?

JimmyJoeBob 6 years, 11 months ago

Yes you can see a large hole if you are looking. What are you talking about?

kujayhawk7476 6 years, 11 months ago

I see more than two! Unfortunately, this is a money-grab by the Frederick family, once well thought of in Lawrence. Now, not so much!

conservative 6 years, 11 months ago

The hole wasn't huge but it was deep. I drove through that intersection the next morning and even when specifically looking for it I didn't see it until i was practically on top of it. I completely understand Bob not seeing it in time. Now as to whether others were negligent and should have fixed it quicker or put cones up to divert traffic, that will be decided by the courts.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Bicycles and other narrow-wheeled vehicles are common not only in Lawrence, but elsewhere. If Black Hills and/or their contractors were creating a hazard for such vehicles, it was incumbent upon them to either repair the street before leaving the location, or erect barricades preventing unsuspecting folks like Fredericks from attempting to use that clearly dangerous stretch of pavement.

jafs 6 years, 11 months ago

That seems like the common sense view.

But, I've seen cases in small claims court where the judge ruled the other way - if a hazard is clear and obvious, the duty is on the person to avoid it.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

The City was never notified of the pothole. I guess it would have to take a citizen who complained and notified the city to come forward, and somehow it would have to be documented.

I ruined a wheel and tire of a company car because of a pothole. The City is never at fault. It was told to me by the City that it falls under the Tort Reform Act. A sinkhole is a different matter. If they were notified about the pothole, the City has reasonable time to repair it. Reasonable time is the gray area.

So, the citizen gets screwed, yet again.

shadowbox66044 6 years, 11 months ago

My condolences to the Frederick family. He was a good man and a pioneer of college sports. I hope this court case ends in the favor of the family.

I remember that pothole. It was very deep. I thought when I hit it with my car my alignment was going to be messed up. That being said, Lawrence streets are embarrassing these days, not only from the potholes but all the tar they are pouring instead of fixing the streets. In fact, when your driving on 6th heading west from Michigan St. to Lawrence Ave. at dusk, the reflection of the sun on the tar is blinding.

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

what's up on 6th street in front of hyvee? how many times will the curbs/island be replaced? it shouldn't have a raised median. why does the City put asphalt down as a base then put concrete curbing on top of the asphalt? Asphalt flexes with the temperature and concrete does not. Is this why our curbs have to be replaced every 3 years?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 11 months ago

Concrete flexes as well-- just not at the same rate as asphalt does. And there's the rub.

Thats_messed_up 6 years, 11 months ago

The City and Haskell WILL be liable when someone dies in the 4 feet of water in the fake wetlands at 31st street. The lack of guard rails is ridiculous and is a deadly hazard. There has already been one girl saved after sliding off 31st and overturning in icy water. Without a witness to the crash she would have been dead. Its only a matter of time till one or more drown because the city is too cheap to install guard rails.

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