WASECA — The state's highest court won't hear a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of a local football coach who was killed at a Waseca intersection in 2012.
The state Supreme Court denied the petition brought by the family of Fred Statz this week. Kenneth White, a Mankato attorney, filed a petition for further review after a state appeals court upheld a Waseca judge's ruling blocking the wrongful death suit in May.
The courts have held that a Minnesota Department of Transportation traffic engineer used proper discretion in his decision to change traffic controls at the intersection days before the wreck.
The Statz family believes the state was negligent in changing the intersection at Old Highway 14 and County Road 27 where Statz, 25, collided with a semi-truck. Lawyers for Statz's parents, Bill and Kathy, have argued the changes made the intersection more dangerous, confusing the issue of right of way.
White had argued that the higher court needed to provide guidance about signage cases and said the state Supreme Court "has never addressed the application of official immunity to the decision by the state to sign or not sign a road," according to his petition for review.
In a response to White's petition, Eric Brown, assistant attorney general, said the state appeals court applied "clear and established law" and did not apply any new principles or policies. The court "relied on longstanding precedent on vicarious official immunity and its application to MnDOT's traffic control and signage decisions," Brown wrote in the filing.
The case did not meet the criteria for Supreme Court review because the case law about vicarious official immunity for traffic control and signage decisions in Minnesota is "longstanding and clear," he wrote.
White said the result was disappointing and the family felt there were significant issues deserving review by the Supreme Court. There are no further options for appeal.