Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Mother's Anguish

Yesterday, I told you of the inexcusable bill that Scott Walker wants enacted first. Said piece of trash bill is to severely limit the liability that someone might face for causing injury or even death to an innocent person.

Among the many people who came to Madison to testify against this horrendous display of greed and contempt for the people of Wisconsin, was Dawn Kellner, the mother of Jared Kellner, who was killed on June 24, 2010, when a 27,000 pound concrete facade fell off of O"Donnell Park.

Here is her prepared statement regarding the bill:
Good afternoon. My name is Dawn Kellner.

When I said goodbye to my son on June 24, 2010, I had no idea it would be the last time I spoke to him. I didn’t know I would never hear his voice or get a hug from him again. I didn’t know that we would never spend another Christmas together.

My fifteen year old son, Jared, died on June 24, 2010, while walking to Summerfest in Milwaukee. He was crushed by a 13 ½ ton piece of concrete that fell from the O’Donnell Park parking structure. We know that this concrete slab was a ticking time bomb. The contractors cut corners and did not follow the original plans. Governor Walker, then Milwaukee County Executive, called this installation “inexcusable.” This is what happens when profits are put over safety and my son paid the ultimate price. No criminal prosecution has resulted from my son’s senseless death. I had to hire my own lawyers to go after those responsible for my son’s death.
I have to ask a jury to make sure that those responsible are held accountable and punished.

After my son died, Governor Walker told the media that he wanted to reach out to me to join in any potential lawsuit. So why is it that his very first proposal as Governor is to protect people like those who killed my son? Nobody wants to put hard-working businesses out of business, but this bill protects bad businesses like those that killed my son. Why? Why does Governor Walker want to protect the worst of the worst? Punitive damages keep bad businesses in check. They stop businesses from cutting corners and putting people’s lives in jeopardy. But this bill removes that check. It encourages cutting corners, puts profits over public safety, and endangers everyone.

My motivation for being here today is not just to remember Jared’s senseless death. I want all of you to think of your family and the families you represent around this State and I want you to think about what this past Christmas would have been like without them. That is my life now. Heaven forbid that one of your family members should die because of “inexcusable” acts like Jared did. And heaven forbid that you would be prevented from holding accountable those that intentionally disregard your rights. Jared’s motto was to “Live Life.” His right to “Live Life” was
taken away from him that day and no one else should lose that right.

This bill is a slap in the face to my son and the family of the next Jared Kellner and a slap on the back to bad businesses that cut corners and put profits over safety. As a tribute to Jared, I ask Governor Walker and this panel to not pass these laws.
Also, via Wisconsin Eye, is the video of the testimony. It is very hard for someone to watch it and not feel strong emotions about how her family would be re-victimized if this bill would be passed. Ms. Kellner's testimony starts at the 7 hour 19 minute mark. (Yes, you can forward to that point without listening to it all. Although the other parts were also very moving.)

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