Family of former KU athletic director Bob Frederick reaches out-of-court settlement of lawsuit filed after his death

Thursday, September 25, 2011

By George Diepenbrock

The family of former Kansas University Athletic Director Bob Frederick has reached an out-of-court settlement with the final two defendants in a lawsuit filed after his 2009 death following a bicycle accident, attorneys said Thursday.

Black Hills Energy and Concrete Inc. of Lawrence were the remaining defendants in the suit. The Frederick family’s lawsuit had alleged that Black Hills and contractors were negligent in completing repair work on pavement near the intersection of Sixth Street and Kasold Drive. Frederick, 69, died on June 12, 2009, one day after he was injured when his bicycle struck a hole near the intersection.

“The Frederick family feels that this resolution has ensured that Black Hills has been held accountable, not just to the family but to the community of Lawrence,” said Dave Morantz, an attorney who along with attorney Lynn R. Johnson represented Frederick’s family in the suit filed in Douglas County District Court in March 2010.

In June, the city of Lawrence and another defendant, Underground Systems Construction Inc., were dismissed from the suit without paying any sort of settlement.

Morantz at that time had said depositions in the case revealed the city had no notice of the hole before the accident and had no legal duty to fix it based on an agreement between the city and Black Hills.

Attorneys said as part of the agreement the financial terms of the settlement between the plaintiffs and Black Hills Energy and Concrete Inc. would not be made public.

“We are obviously saddened by his death, and the matter is resolved. The settlement is confidential,” said Marc Erickson, an attorney representing Black Hills Energy. “We don’t really have any further comment at this point.”

Erickson did say Black Hills Energy was not admitting fault or liability as part of the resolution. Craig Blumreich, an attorney for Concrete Inc., did not return a call seeking comment Thursday.

Morantz said discovery in the case revealed the person riding with Frederick at the time of the accident testified in a deposition that she also did not see the hole in the pavement.

“There’s no amount of money that’s going to bring back Dr. Frederick or change what happened,” Morantz said. “But the family hopes this will prevent similar instances in the future.”

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