David Stamm, Jr. v. Jeffrey Prochnow and Western National Insurance Company

Snowmobiler Injured on Snowmobile Trail

Gene Hollander successfully litigated a snowmobile case, David Stamm, Jr. v. Jeffrey Prochnow and Western National Insurance Company. Mr. Hollander obtained gross verdict of $814,564.91 and a net verdict of $570,195.44 (less 30% comparative negligence) on January 13, 2004.

The Plaintiff’s attorneys were Eugene K. Hollander and Robert Sidkey of The Law Offices of Eugene K. Hollander. The case was litigated and tried in Walworth County, Wisconsin.

David Stamm, Jr., age 24, went snowmobiling with three friends near his father’s lake cottage, near East Troy, WI. On the evening of February 18, 2000, Plaintiff was traveling northbound on Trail No. 9. Plaintiff turned off of the marked snowmobile trail to meet up with the remaining members of his group at the base of a large hill – the group’s pre-arranged meeting spot. Prochnow left the trail earlier, and traveled on an unmarked path. Defendant crested the hill traveling between 30 and 35 m.p.h. and landed on top of the Plaintiff’s snowmobile, ejecting him.

The Plaintiff contended that the Defendant was negligent in failing to stay on the marked trail, failing to keep a proper lookout for approaching snowmobiles, and failed to maintain an appropriate speed for conditions. Stamm’s attorneys used the Defendant’s Snowmobile Safety Handbook to establish liability. The Defense contended that the Plaintiff caused the accident by failing to fulfill his obligations as the trail leader in picking a poor meeting spot, and that the Plaintiff was comparatively negligent by leaving the trail himself. Stamm’s attorneys used a scale model of the accident scene to show the jury how the accident occurred.

The Plaintiff suffered the following Injuries: Left and right scapula fractures, rib fractures at T1, T2, T3, T4; compression fractures at T9, T10; fractured vertebrae at C6-C7, C7-T1; disc bulge at C4-5 and C5-C6; second through fifth metacarpal bones fractured in right hand; left orbital wall fracture; liver and spleen laceration; collapsed lung; Plaintiff placed on life support. Stamm’s attorneys used medical illustrations to demonstrate to the jury their client’s injuries and impairments.

The Plaintiff called several very effective medical witnesses, who were: Dr. Raj Rao (orthopaedics), Dr. John Heinrich (orthopaedics), Dr. John Weigelt (trauma surgeon); Dr. William Dzwierzynski (hand surgeon); and Kathy Howell (physical therapist).

The Defense expert also conceded that Defendant was traveling too fast for conditions.

The Gross Verdict of $814,564.91 for the Plaintiff included amounts awarded by the Court for Special damages, including Medical expenses; Lost wages; Past pain and suffering; Past disability and disfigurement; Future pain and suffering; Future disability and disfigurement.