California Judge rules in favour of Laguna Seca in track day case

A California judge has ruled in favour of the Laguna Seca Raceway circuit in a lawsuit brought against it by a track day rider.

 Valentino Rossi leads Casey Stoner at Laguna Seca, US GP 2008

Yesterday (13 April 2022), Judge of the Superior Court of Monterey County, California, Thomas W. Wills, ruled in favour of the Laguna Seca Raceway in a lawsuit brought against it by a track day rider. 

Laguna Seca’s owner, Monterey County, and its operational partner, the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Penninsula (SCRAMP), had the case brought against it by track day rider, Daniel Kim Jr., according to Road Racing World

Laguna Seca United States

Kim suffered serious injuries, according to Road Racing World, “when he rode off the track surface in turn five,” and hit “a sandbag or sandbags.”

According to Courthouse News, the crash resulted in seven broken bones for Kim, who was riding a Ducati 1199 Panigale at the time. Courthouse News also reported back in May 2016 that Kim rode off the track in avoidance of another, slower rider, and that the medical expenses came to more than $500,000.

The crash took place on 14 March, 2015, with the lawsuit being filed by Kim in 2016. The lawsuit involved Kim suing the organiser of the track day, Keigwins at the Track, Monterey County, and SCRAMP, according to Road Racing World, due to safety conditions. Keigwins at the Track were omitted from the case part-way through.

On 6 April 2022, Judge Wills issued a Statement of Decision on the case, in which he said, “The Court finds there was neither gross nor ordinary negligence on the part of the defendants SCRAMP and County of Monterey which contributed to Plaintiff’s harm.”

Laguna Seca, Andretti Hairpin, aerial view, 2013 US Grand Prix.

The Judge went on to say that neither Monterey Country nor SCRAMP did not diverge from “what a reasonably careful person would do in the same situation to prevent harm to others.” Additionally, “There was no failure by either defendant to exercise reasonable care in any respect of the design, maintenance, operation, or inspection of the track or its surroundings.”

There was also found to be no financial oversight or financial problems relating to the accident, nor unreasonable failure to minimise risks on the part of Monterey County or SCRAMP.

There will be a further hearing in May, according to Road Racing World, to give the plaintiff, Kim, the chance to oppose the decision of the court. The full Statement of Decision can also be read on Road Racing World.