Claims filed against City of Madison in sunbather death

Karen Remington, 38, died in June after city truck ran over her

Published On: Sep 18 2012 03:36:26 PM CDT   Updated On: Sep 19 2012 08:04:06 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

A law firm has filed wrongful death claims for at least $250,000 against the City of Madison on behalf of the 38-year-old sunbather who died in early June after a city truck ran over her.

Erik Monson, an attorney with the firm Coyne, Schultz, Becker and Bauer of Madison, is handling the case and confirmed Tuesday that he had served claims against the city. The city will now begin investigating the claims, he said.

Karen Remington of Windsor died as a result of injuries suffered May 23 when a city dump truck ran over her at James Madison Park, near downtown. The truck was hauling tree bark and was operating on a grassy area of the park, which sits between Lake Mendota and East Gorham Street.

Monson declined further comment about the exact amount of the claims or the reasons for filing them, citing legal rules prohibiting publicity of cases that could go to trial.

Michael May, the city of Madison's attorney, said he has every intention of responding to the claims by the deadline 120 days from now.

The claims could turn into a lawsuit if the city denies responsibility for Remington's death.

The city's insurance provider will now start its own investigation into what happened.

State investigators have been doing their own reconstruction to see whether the truck's driver could have seen Remington as she was sunbathing.

Madison Parks Director Kevin Briski confirmed to WISC-TV that the driver of the city dump truck involved in the incident continued to work her seasonal position until the end of the summer.

There was a weeklong internal review immediately after the incident and the employee was off work during that time.

The employee returned to work but decided not to drive the truck anymore, instead working at all east side parks doing mowing, painting and cleaning bathrooms. Briski said the seasonal position pays about $11 an hour.

Parks Department leaders have not changed policies after the incident, but they have reminded employees when it's OK to drive off-road at city parks and how to be safe in doing so.