Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Landowner Negligence Case 'Signifcant'

PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 12, 2006--A negligence finding against a Pennsylvania landowner for the actions of a hunter using his land is a first for the U.S., said Joel S. Rosen, attorney for the plaintiff.

"This is an important victory for brain injury victims," said Rosen. "Firearm mishaps result in a significant number of brain injuries across the United States."

Rosen said the importance of the case may be misunderstood.

"This case holds landowners responsible when they allow negligent hunting on their property," he said. "Our research shows this is the first case of its kind in the U.S."

Landowners have a responsibility when they allow hunting on their property, he said.

"This landowner new nothing about the hunter. He did not know if he was a safe hunter. He did not know what kind of gun he was using. He did not even know if he had a hunting license," said Rosen.

"Now that we have proven the property owner's negligence, we look forward to trying the damage portion of the case," he said.

The verdict came in a negligence case involving Craig T. Wetzel who was hunting on land owned by Daniel Haas in Coplay, PA, northeast of Philadelphia.

A rifle shot fired by Wetzel traveled more than 1/2 mile before striking Casey Kantner in the head as she sat in her car in her driveway. Kantner was 18 at the time and six months pregnant. She was hospitalized for a week and had surgery to repair her fractured skull. Her baby was born safely three months later.

The original jury could only determine negligence. A separate panel will decide the amount of damages in about 60 days.

Rosen is with the law firm Cohen, Placitella & Roth, P.C., of Philadelphia.