CVN screenshot of defense attorney M. Bradley Johnson delivering his closing argument
Las Vegas, NV - A Nevada state court jury cleared a local ATV rental company on Friday of all liability in a lawsuit filed by a woman who suffered ankle injuries in a rollover accident, and the full trial was recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.
The Clark County jury returned its verdict shortly after hearing closing arguments in a trial that began January 30th. Plaintiff Beatrice Smith sought nearly $500,000 in past and future damages for injuries she sustained in 2018 during an ATV tour operated by SunBuggy Fun Rentals.
Smith broke her ankle when her ATV rolled over on a hill, and she accused the tour operator of ignoring a complaint she made about the vehicle’s steering earlier in the tour. She argued SunBuggy did not perform adequate maintenance on her ATV and had a systemic practice of failing to properly document similar accidents, but the company successfully convinced jurors the waiver Smith signed prior to the tour absolves them of all responsibility for her injuries.
Defense Attorney M. Bradley Johnson of Kravitz Schnitzer Johnson & Watson told jurors that Smith knowingly engaged in a dangerous activity, and that the risks of a rollover on uneven terrain are inherent in ATV off-road driving.
“It’s obvious that you can be hurt riding an ATV,” he stressed.
Johnson criticized Smith’s testimony in the trial that she supposedly did not know about the risks associated with driving an ATV.
“That’s why we have a waiver, for people like that,” he said, noting Smith had to sign the waiver three separate times and initial every page.
Smith’s attorney characterized the waiver as the same type of legal small-print consumers routinely initial, claiming that even the SunBuggy employee tasked with handing out and collecting the waivers thought they just said to “wear a helmet and follow the rules.”
Johnson told jurors that Smith had a right to sign a waiver without reading it, but that decision came with consequences.
“She’s going to do what she wants, and good for her because that’s called freedom,” Johnson said, while also defending SunBuggy’s maintenance practices and safety records.
Smith was represented by Christian Morris Trial Attorneys.
The trial took place before Judge Gloria Sturman.
The case was captioned Beatrice Smith v. SunBuggy Fun Rentals, case number A-20-810286-C in Nevada’s Eighth Judicial District Court in Clark County.
E-mail David Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org