State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and a driver were named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed earlier this year over the March death of six-year-old Maryana Kranz.
Carl Mullenix of Plainfield, Wisconsin, and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company were recently named in a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of six-year-old Maryana Kranz. According to the lawsuit, the child was hit by a pickup truck driven my Mullenix when she was waiting to board her school bus back on February 10. Her sister was also hit, by she survived. Both were students in the Tri-County School District.
The lawsuit was filed last month in Waushara County Circuit Court, and since then the defendants have requested the court to toss the suit. However, the suit argues that Mullenix was “negligent in causing the death of Maryana.” The plaintiffs include Maryana’s mother, Shannon Kranz, and her sister. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is also listed as an involuntary plaintiff.
What happened, though? According to Mrs. Kranz, her daughters were struck by a Chevy Silverado driven by Mullenix while waiting at the bus stop. She “arrived at the scene within minutes and personally witnessed the severe injuries and ultimate death inflicted to her daughter due to the negligence of Mullenix.” As a result of witnessing her daughter’s death and the injuries her other daughter sustained, Mrs. Kranz has suffered severe emotional distress, according to the suit. She is now seeking “damages related to medical and burial expenses.”
According to Waushara County Sheriff Wally Zuehlke’s account of the incident, it appeared Mullenix had been driving on the shoulder of the road when his vehicle hit the sisters. It’s important to note that, at the time of the incident, the school bus lights were flashing, signaling vehicles to stop and wait until all students boarded the bus. Mullenix ignored the lights.
In late April, the insurance company and attorneys representing Mullenix filed a response to the lawsuit and “asked the suit to be dismissed with prejudice.” Additionally, the defendants are seeking “relief for costs and attorneys fees.” According to their response, “based on the information they have at the time, they lack knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the matters asserted by the plaintiffs.” In Wisconsin, it is up to plaintiffs to present proof to back up their claims in civil cases. In filing their response, the defendants also requested the “right to amend their response should they get information that would allow affirmative defenses or justifications for the allegations.” If the case is allowed to proceed, the defendants will seek a jury trial.