(CN) – The family of an ABC cameraman who fell to his death on the job can sue the facilities director at the University of Wisconsin for negligence, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled.
Richard Umanski was filming a Badgers football game for the network when he fell 8 feet from a 4-by-8-foot platform.
The Wisconsin Legislature and federal guidelines mandated railings on such platforms. There was no railing on the platform in this case.
Umansky’s family sued Barry Fox, who is charge of the Camp Randall Stadium facility, alleging negligence and wrongful death.
The trial court ruled in Fox’s favor, but the court of appeals reversed.
Justice Crooks then had to decide whether Fox had immunity as a state employee, or whether the immunity was superseded by his ministerial duty to ensure compliance with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration regulation requiring the railing.
“We conclude that Fox had a ministerial duty here. His job description provided that he was responsible for compliance with federal and state safety regulations,” Crooks wrote.
Crooks remanded the case to the trial court for a determination of “breach, causation, comparison of fault, and damages.”