Jury to receive Christensen v. Sherbeck this afternoon (12/13/18)

Staff Writer

Attorneys in Christensen v. Sherbeck made closing arguments this morning (12/13/18) in Christensen v. Sherbeck in Custer County District Court. Judge Karin Noakes told the jury they will receive instructions at 1. p.m.

The trial began last Tuesday, Dec. 4 with the jury selections and opening arguments.

The family of Chad Christensen is seeking damages to cover medical expenses, potential loss of earning and cost of care from the estate of Albert Sherbeck.

Albert Sherbeck was driving a pickup eastbound on Hwy 2 near Ansley June 1, 2012 when the truck crossed the center line and collided head on with a van carrying two Broken Bow coaches and several students. The coaches, Anthony Blum and Zane Harvey, and Sherbeck died in the accident. Chad Christensen was the most severely injured of the students on the van.

During closing, plaintiff attorney David S. Houghton listed medical care costs of $421,707.95 already incurred by the Christensen family. He also listed an estimated loss of potential lifetime earnings of $3,129,628 and, if necessary, personal attended care or assisted living care of $74,508.12 to $117,338.32.

In closing, defense attorney Daniel Placzek stated the key word in testimony was "sudden," that the pickup did not slowly drift into the other lane but that eyewitnesses testified it "suddenly jumped" as well as doctors who testified to the risk of ventricular fibrillation which can bring on sudden cardiac death with no warnings or evidence after the fact. He also stated the defense hired experts witnesses who testified and gave depositions after reviewing reports, something that Houghton, in his rebuttal said "was an attack on the character of very good people."

Placzek stated that as Sherbek's cardiologist did not advise Sherbeck to not drive, it's unreasonable to expect that his wife, Beverly Sherbeck, could be found negligent.

The jury must first determine if negligence occurred and then, if so, monetary damages to be awarded.