Madison - St. Clair Record

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Gateway, ambulance company seek dismissal in wrongful death suit following go-cart crash

By Heather Isringhausen Gvillo | Jan 19, 2018


Several defendants sued in a widow’s wrongful death suit alleging her husband died following a go-cart crash in 2015 are seeking dismissal from her amended complaint.

Flora Odum filed an amended complaint on Dec. 18 to address the matters raised in the defendants’ motions to dismiss.

Odum, the surviving spouse of Thomas Odum, filed the amended complaint against Gateway Motorsports Park, Gateway Kartplex LLC, Abbot Ambulance Inc., Hertz Corporation, Gateway Acquisitions Inc., American Medical Response of Illinois Inc., Gateway Motorsports LLC, Gateway International Motorsports Corporation and Gateway Motorsports Corp.

In her complaint, she alleges the decedent was participating in a racing event for clients of Hertz and their employees at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison on May 21, 2015, when his go-cart was allegedly thrown off track. The suit claims the go-cart went past barriers and through a chain link fence, and ultimately hit a concrete structure.

Flora Odum alleges the defendants failed to have first responders available to provide rescue services to her husband. She also claims that when an ambulance did arrive, it did not have the proper medical equipment and training to help him.

As a result, she alleges the decedent’s family members watched him suffer for approximately 25 minutes following the wreck before “proper” emergency services arrived on scene.

Flora Odum further alleges the decedent received extensive and on-going medical care to treat his injuries and later died as a result of the incident.

However, a Madison County coroner’s inquiry verdict states that the decedent died on May 25, 2015, as a result of heart failure, or specifically arteriosclerotic and hypertensive cardiovascular disease.

Gateway Motorsports Park, Gateway Kartplex and Gateway Acquisitions answered the complaint on Dec. 20 through attorney Michael Bedesky of Reed Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey PC in Edwardsville.

They deny liability and argue that the decedent submitted a release prior to the go-cart event which bars the claims in this case.

Further, they argue that the sole proximate cause of the decedent’s death was a pre-existing medical condition over which the defendants had no control.

The defendants also filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that the claims against them are factually deficient and only make conclusory allegations.

Abbott Ambulance and American Medical Response filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them on Dec. 20 through attorneys Kim Luther and Andrew Luther of Luther & Associates PC in St. Louis.

They argue that they previously sought dismissal based upon the plaintiff’s failure to file an affidavit stating the plaintiffs were unable to consult with an expert prior to filing suit. Plaintiff’s counsel allegedly responded that he intended to amend the complaint in such a way that an affidavit would not be required.

However, the defendants argue that a healthcare affidavit was not attached to the amended complaint.

They argue that because the claims against them relate to their alleged failure to provide the decedent with adequate medical services, a healthcare affidavit is required.

Abbott Ambulance and American Medical Response filed a separate motion to dismiss the claims seeking punitive damages against them, arguing that case law prohibits a plaintiff from seeking punitive damages in an initial pleading.

Odum filed a stipulation for dismissal for defendants Gateway Motorsports LLC, Gateway International Motorsports Corporation and Gateway Motorsports Corp. on Dec. 14. Dismissal was granted on Dec. 21.

Odum is represented by J. Brad Wilmouth of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 17-L-632

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Organizations in this Story

Madison County Circuit Court Reed, Armstrong Mudge & Morrissey