Could Tony Stewart’s hopes to see a wrongful death civil lawsuit come to an end actually happen in 2018?
After a grand jury ruled that the retired NASCAR star would not face any criminal charges after an on-track accident during an Empire Super Sprints race at Canandaigua Motorsports Park, in upstate New York in 2014, led to the death of Sprint Car driver Kevin Ward, Jr. the young driver’s family filed a civil suit against the driver who they say could have avoided hitting and killing their son.
While the legal teams for both Stewart and the Ward family have tried to settle this case in many different ways over the last three years, including two eight-hour mediation events last summer, the civil suit is now on a path for a May trial.
Denying the argument that he “accelerated during a caution thereby striking, injuring and killing Ward”, Stewart also claims that waivers signed by Kevin Ward Jr. as a driver, and Ward’s father, as his car owner, with Empire Super Sprints and the race track prohibit the Wards from suing for wrongful death and gross negligence because those waivers state they release other competitors from liability. He also argues that a race-car driver assumes an inherent risk when competing and therefore he cannot be held liable.
Both the legal teams of Stewart and the Ward family will appear in federal court in Utica before Judge David Hurd for additional motions on January 26 and are expected to battle it out in a trial that will begin on May 7.
Stay tuned to RacingJunk.com for the latest updates in this case.