$10.5 Million Oldham County Verdict
Klosterman vs. Falling Rock Park
In the summer of 2010, Falling Rock Park opened its doors to the public. Every week during that summer, hundreds and sometimes thousands of people paid $10 a person to get in the doors. Once they got in, patrons experienced an environment described as similar to college spring break, with rampant alcohol and drug abuse. This environment was allowed and even promoted over the course of the following two years, ultimately leading to the tragic events that formed the basis of this trial.
In the early afternoon hours of June 13, 2012, Nicholas Snoddy and a group of friends began drinking at Falling Rock Park. Over the course of several hours, Mr. Snoddy drank a bottle of champagne, several beers, several shots, and several mixed drinks. Mr. Snoddy then left the quarry, and shortly thereafter crossed the center line on a rural Oldham County road, striking a motorcycle driven by Charley Klosterman. After a valiant battle with life and death, Charley died just over two months later from injuries sustained in the wreck.
At trial, Falling Rock’s owner argued that he did not allow either Mr. Snoddy or anyone else to drink alcohol on his property. In response, the attorneys of the Bolus Law Offices offered significant evidence that this was simply untrue, including the testimony of Mr. Snoddy and several law enforcement officers. The jury also heard about how Falling Rock promoted an environment of alcohol consumption by allowing a local band to film a music video glorifying drinking and partying with reckless abandon. Finally, the jury heard about the fact that drinking was still permitted at Falling Rock even after Charley’s death. Specifically, the jury was told about numerous alcohol-related citations related to Falling Rock. The jury also heard about another drunk driving incident that occurred just two months before trial in which a man, after drinking all day at Falling Rock, ran into a vehicle driven by a pregnant woman just a quarter mile outside of the entrance of Falling Rock.
After just over three hours of deliberation, the jury returned with a record-high verdict of $10,528,211.35, which included a loss of consortium award of $5,000,000.00 and a punitive damages award of $2,500,000.00. The total verdict was nearly ten times larger than the previous largest recorded verdict in Oldham County history. By finding in favor of Charley against Falling Rock and awarding a record amount of damages, the jury sent a message to businesses across the Commonwealth that citizens of Kentucky do not stand for unsafe business practices.