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Tony Stewart faces Ward family in hearing

Tony Stewart (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR)

By AMANDA VINCENT

An hour-long hearing relating to the federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Kevin Ward Jr. against Tony Stewart relating to Ward’s death from injuries sustained when he was struck by the car driven by Stewart during an Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Aug. 9, 2014, was held Oct. 27 after multiple delays since the originally scheduled April date.

After the hearing, District Judge David Hurd said his ruling wouldn’t come for at least a few weeks and his written decision would be lengthy.

After wrecking out of the race at Canandaigua, Ward, who had marijuana in his system, according to a toxicology report, climbed from his car and approached Stewart’s car as cars continued on the darkened track under caution. A grand jury elected to not file criminal charges against Stewart.

Stewart said he didn’t see Ward until it was too late to miss him, and he hit the throttle on his race car in an attempt to swerve and miss him.

Stewart asked the judge to throw out three of the four claims against him before the case goes to trial, arguing the wrongful death and gross negligence claims should be dismissed because of waivers signed Ward and his father, as his car owner and the known inherent risk of racing. Stewart also contents that the claim of pain and suffering and pre-impact terror is baseless, because Ward died instantly and had no fear of death because of the marijuana of which he was under the influence.

The Wards contend that their son, first, suffered a broken leg and felt pain from that injury moments before his death and that drivers should not expect to be hit by another car because of safety personnel present and because drivers often get out of cars after wrecks.

The Wards also contend that the waiver defense is not valid, because Stewart did not sign the same waiver, as he was not a regular competitor in the series.

One other claim, one of intentional/reckless conduct, can only be decided by a jury.

Meanwhile, settlement negotiations are ongoing. If Stewart is required to pay, he would be personally responsible for the payment, as Hurt ruled last year that Axis Insurance Company was not responsible, because the Empire Super Sprints series was not covered by Stewart’s policy.

Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on November 1, 2017. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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