Ven Johnson Law Wins in Michigan Court of Appeals Against State of Michigan
DETROIT, MI – Ven Johnson Law, PLC, has prevailed in the Michigan Court of Appeals in its lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on behalf of client Mark Goss.
On February 26, 2018, DNR Ranger Roy Pederson was driving a John Deere Gator pulling a
grooming rake to groom a ski trail near Sault St. Marie in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Pederson ran a stop sign and collided with a snowmobile driven by Mark Goss, who had the right of way on a snowmobile trail. Pederson’s vehicle caught fire, which severely burned Goss, and Pederson died of the injuries he sustained.
In June 2019, Ven Johnson Law, PLC filed this case in the Michigan Court of Claims, asserting that the State of Michigan was liable for Pederson’s negligence pursuant to the Motor Vehicle Exception to governmental immunity, which provides that the government is liable if it injures someone through the negligent use of a government-owned motor vehicle. The State immediately filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that the Gator should be classified as an off-road vehicle (ORV) and not as a motor vehicle. The Court of Claims judge, Michael Kelly, disagreed with the State’s position and denied the motion.
The State then appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals (MCA), which in a unanimous decision affirmed the trial court, and held that the Gator was a motor vehicle, for purposes of that above exception to governmental immunity. As a result, the Goss case can move toward trial.
“This is a tremendous victory for our client. We will aggressively pursue damages on behalf of Mark Goss, who has incurred millions of dollars in medical bills due to severe burns to over 50% of his body, especially to his hands and arms. He has undergone 40 medical procedures to date,” said Ven Johnson, president Ven Johnson Law. “Mr. Goss is no longer able to work as the result of severe burns from the explosion and his quality of life has significantly diminished. He is a nationally-ranked marksman and can no longer participate in competitions due to his injuries, among most other activities.”
About Ven Johnson Law, PLC
Ven Johnson Law, PLC, founded by Ven Johnson in 2011, has worked on some of the most notable personal injury cases in America, winning more than $200 million in jury verdicts and settlements totaling more than $400 Million. The firm’s practice areas include civil rights, police misconduct, premises liability, product liability and many more. Ven Johnson and his team have been recognized by legal organizations and publications across the country, including being named to the “Best Law Firms” list by U.S. News & World Report 2017-2020. For more information, visit www.venjohnsonlaw.com.