Amicus Committee Activity - Cases Decided: Waters v. Pertzborn

WDC Journal Edition: December 2001
By: James Naugler

Waters v. Pertzborn, 2001 WI 62

Waters is an appeal of the trial court's decision in a non-final order bifurcating liability and damages. This case involves a minor who sleds down the hill of the property owner and into the street where he is struck by an oncoming vehicle, which raises an additional issue: Does the recreational immunity statute extend to an owner where the activity occurs on the owner's property but where the injury culminates from the uninterrupted activity beyond the owner's property?

The Wisconsin Supreme Court held that a circuit court is barred by statute from ordering separate trials before different juries on the issues of liability and damages arising from the same claim. The court held open the issue of the validity of separate trials before the same jury for another day.

On the issue of recreational immunity, the court held that the recreational immunity statute applies despite the minor's injury on a public road because the sledding amounted to a continuous act beginning on the property owner's front yard.

CTCW member and amicus committee member Michele Ford of Crivello, Carlson, Mentkowski & Steeves argued the case on behalf of CTCW.