A jury deliberated Wednesday on whether to hold Advance Cast Stone Co. and others liable for a death and multiple injuries caused by the 2010 O’Donnell Park parking structure partial facade collapse in Milwaukee.
The jury began deliberations at 9 a.m. Wednesday and had not reached a verdict Wednesday afternoon.
Jared Kellner, 15, of Greenfield, died June 24, 2010, while walking to Henry Maier Festival Park to attend Summerfest with Steven, Amy and Eric Wosinski. A 13½-ton concrete façade panel fell from the Milwaukee County-owned parking garage as Kellner and the Wosinskis were exiting. Kellner was killed, and Eric and Amy Wosinski were injured.
Attorneys for the Wosinskis and for Jared Kellner’s estate and his mother have argued that Random Lake-based Advance Cast Stone deviated from original construction methods, and that was what caused the panel to fall. As a result, the attorneys argued, the company should be liable for millions of dollars in damages.
Advance Cast Stone’s attorney has claimed the change in methods was approved but that paperwork showing that approval was lost. Advance Cast Stone countersued Milwaukee County, claiming it failed to maintain the parking garage. Milwaukee County has argued the originally planned façade connection would not have required maintenance.
The 14-member jury was asked to determine whether Advance Cast Stone was negligent in manufacturing or installing the panels and, if so, whether that negligence caused the panel to fall. The jury also was asked to determine whether Milwaukee County, the general contractor, the engineer that designed the original connection, the project architect and another subcontractor were negligent in any of their roles and, if so, whether that negligence contributed to the panel falling.
The general contractor, Madison-based J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., settled with the plaintiffs in July.
The jury must decide whether the plaintiffs should be awarded compensatory damages for, among other things, pain and suffering, and whether Advance Cast Stone intentionally disregarded the rights of the Wosinskis and Jared Kellner and should have to pay punitive damages.
While deliberating Wednesday, the jury received permission to review some exhibits, including Advance Cast Stone’s contract for the project and a summary of Amy Wosinski’s alleged past and future health care costs and of alleged effects on her past and future earning capacity.
The jury asked for a summary of damages requested by the plaintiffs, but Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Christopher Foley refused to provide it because that information was presented during closing arguments and not entered as an exhibit. Foley also denied a request for an explanation of how punitive damages, would be distributed among the plaintiffs. Foley denied the request because the jury was instructed to reach a verdict regardless of the future effect on any party.
The jury was expected to continue deliberating Wednesday afternoon.