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Victory At Missouri Supreme Court

Court Rules In Favor Of NB Father

Fulton Sun, May 1, 2011

For the father of Christine Ewing, Tuesday’s Missouri Supreme Court decision was a bittersweet end to a long, “emotional” journey. Craig Ewing of New Bloomfield said on Friday that the court’s decision to side in his favor was satisfying news, although it doesn’t change what happened. “I’d rather have my daughter back,” Ewing said. Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling affirmed a 2005 court order granting Christine’s parents $4,580,076 in damages. Christine – who grew up in Mokane and was a 1999 graduate of South Callaway High School – died in July 2003 from injuries she sustained when a cable snapped as she was climbing a portable rock wall, causing her to fall. Her parents, Ewing and Kathleen Schmitz, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the owner of the rock wall, Marcus Floyd, and Columbia Professional Baseball (CPB). The wall was at a Mid-Missouri Maverick’s minor league baseball game in Columbia at the time of Christine’s fall; CPB owned the team. The case was originally brought before a Boone County court which ruled in favor of Christine’s parents. Further litigation against CPB’s two insurance companies, Virginia Surety Company and Great American Assurance Company, resulted in the case coming before the Supreme Court. Ewing’s attorney, Tom Riley with Riley & Stingley of Fulton, said Great American has 15 days to request a rehearing with the court. Riley said if it fails to do so or the court refuses, the case will return to a trial court in Boone County where it will award his client with the damage due. “Obviously we’re pleased with the fact that the Supreme Court approved all the theories we’ve been pursuing for years,” Riley said Friday. “Hopefully, it gives the family some justice and some closure, and we think that’s been long overdue.” Christine, 22, was living in Jefferson City at the time of her death and worked for Central Technology Services. “She was just a wonderful daughter,” Ewing said, adding that Christine’s personality enabled her to have a multitude of friends. “All her friends got together and made her a Facebook page after she passed away.” Referring to Tuesday’s verdict, Ewing said, “I feel justice was served, and Tom (Riley) worked real hard to see to it. There were times that we were just about ready to give up.” “It was just plain negligence,” he said about his daughter’s accident. “The climbing wall was just a disaster place waiting to happen.”

Read the Missouri Supreme Court’s Opinion in Schmitz v. Great American Assur. Co., 337 S.W.3d 700 (Mo. banc 2011).