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Stehlik v. Rhoads
Wisconsin Supreme Court
645 N.W.2d 889 (2002)
Paul and Jill Rhoads (defendants) bought a new all-terrain vehicle (ATV). Paul signed a warranty containing safety warnings about the operation of the ATV, including warnings not to drive the ATV without a helmet, under the influence, or on an incline. The next day, the Rhoads had a party and allowed guests to drive the ATV. One guest, Charles Stehlik (plaintiff), was a part-time truck driver and part-time law-enforcement officer who had racing experience and drove motorcycles and mopeds. Stehlik was intoxicated and drove the ATV, without wearing the available helmet, over the side of a hill and hit his head on a concrete wall, injuring himself. Stehlik sued the Rhoads for negligence. The jury found that both the Rhoads and Stehlik were negligent, determined that Stehlik’s damages were $853,277, and reduced Stehlik’s damage award to $54,198 based on Stehlik’s negligence and failure to wear a helmet. Stehlik appealed, and the appellate court certified the case to Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Sykes, J.)
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