Lawsuit filed in Frisco boating death
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
FRISCO, Colo. – The family of Adam Brown – who died last year in a boating accident on Dillon Reservoir – has filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver.
Defendants named in the suit are the Town of Frisco, the Tiki Bar at the Frisco Marina, and Kevin Lukanski, who was driving the boat when Brown fell into the reservoir and drowned.
Attorneys for the defendants made statements in court Thursday suggesting they would file motions to dismiss the case because federal courts don’t have any jurisdiction in the matter, according to Gary Sandblom, the attorney for Kevin Lukanski.
“The defendants deny that there are any civil rights violations, so the federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction,” Sandblom said.
The plaintiffs allege the town’s “custom and policy” of allowing its employees to use its boats without proper training violated Brown’s rights under the due process clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution.
According to a complaint and proposed scheduling order filed with U.S. District Court in Denver, the plaintiffs are seeking damages for past pain and suffering, survival action and medical expenses, as well as loss of companionship, impairment of quality of life, emotional distress, funeral expenses and any net financial losses they have suffered as a result of Adam Brown’s death.
The cap on damages in a wrongful death lawsuit is $438,010.
The plaintiffs are also claiming Lukanski was not properly trained by the town to operate the runabout boat.
The Tiki Bar is also named in the lawsuit based on allegations by the plaintiffs that consumption of alcohol at the establishment contributed to Brown’s death, according to the complaint filed with the court.
Sandblom said Lukanski denies any liability, and claims Brown assumed the risk through his own actions with “contributory negligence.”
Brown died Aug. 6, 2008 on Dillon Reservoir. Lukanski was driving the boat while intoxicated. His blood-alcohol level was measured at 0.21 after the accident, nearly three times the legal limit for driving a motor vehicle, including a boat.
Lukanski pleaded guilty to boating under the influence and criminally negligent homicide in December 2008, a lesser charge than the original count of vehicular manslaughter. He was sentenced to two years in prison in January, 2009.
According to testimony from the trial, Lukanski was “doing donuts” at the helm of the rented boat when Brown fell overboard and drowned. Water-rescue teams recovered his body in 47 feet of water after a three-day search.
An autopsy showed Brown suffered significant head injuries after hitting the boat’s propeller during the fall from the boat.
Frisco town manager Michael Penny said the town has no comment on the pending litigation.
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