A Kansas woman injured in a midnight motorcycle crash with loose livestock reached a $750,000 settlement.
“Just because cattle escaped doesn’t mean that the landowner is per se negligent,” said Brett Votava of Votava Nance & Johnson. “You have to prove that they were negligent in some way in the maintenance or upkeep of a fence or something else related to the keeping of cattle.”
Votava’s client, Brittni Mays, was a passenger on a motorcycle in the September 2019 accident in which driver Kenneth Manning collided with one of several cattle wandering on a two-lane rural road near Princeton, Kansas. Votava said the seven cows were almost completely black and difficult to see.
Mays was ejected from the bike and suffered a compound femur fracture, resulting in her being confined to bed for a year. A rod was eventually installed in her leg.
Mays sued Manning as well as the owners of the cattle, Jeffrey and Jodi White, and SF Farms and Nina Froggatte, the owners of the land on which the Whites were supposed to keep the animals secured. The plaintiff alleged that the cattle escaped through a section of electric fence that was down.
Kevin Bennett of Bennett Bodine & Waters represented SF Farms and Froggatte. His office confirmed that the case had been settled. Daniel Diepenbrock, an attorney for the Whites, declined to comment. Bradley Akins, an attorney for Manning, didn’t return a request for comment.
$750,000 settlement (out of state)
Motor vehicle collision
Breakdown: $725,000 from SF Farms, Froggatte and the Whites; $25,000 from Manning
Venue: Wyandotte County, Kansas, District Court
Case Number/Date: 2020-CV-000648/Jan. 18, 2023
Plaintiff’s Experts: Bob Kingsbery, Tioga, Texas (cattle fencing)
Defendants’ Experts: Dale Blasi, Manhattan, Kansas (cattle fencing)
Insurer: Farm Bureau (for SF Farms, Froggatte and White); Progressive (for Manning)
Caption: Brittni Mays v. SF Farms Inc.; Nina Froggatte; Jodi White; Jeffrey White; Kenneth Manning
Plaintiff’s Attorney: Brett Votava, Votava Nantz & Johnson, Kansas City
Defendants’ Attorneys: Kevin Bennett, Bennett Bodine & Waters, Shawnee, Kansas (for SF Farms and Froggatte); Daniel Diepenbrock, Thompson-Hall, Lawrence, Kansas (for the Whites); Bradley Akins, Harris & Hart, Overland Park, Kansas (for Manning)