A Sacramento jury set an eye-popping standard on the cost of radio station contests that kill and the resulting loss of a mother’s love and a wife’s companionship.
The tab for Entercom Sacramento LLC came to $16,577,118 in the water-intoxication death of Jennifer Lea Strange in a contest put on by radio station KDND “The End” (107.9 FM).
Such was the award rendered by a Sacramento Superior Court jury of seven men and five women in the trial to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Strange’s survivors. The 28-year-old woman died Jan. 12, 2007, after she participated in KDND’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest.
The jury voted unanimously to hold Entercom Sacramento negligent and found that its negligence harmed Strange. It just as unanimously exonerated the station’s parent company, Entercom Communications Corp., of any liability.
By a 10-2 vote, the panel awarded $1,477,118 in economic damages to Strange’s husband, Billy Strange, individually and as guardian for their children Ryland, 6, and Jorie, 3; and to Ronald Sims, father and guardian of the woman’s 13-year-old son, Keegan. On a separate vote of 9-3, jurors awarded the plaintiffs $15.1 million for the loss of Jennifer Strange’s love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, moral support, training and guidance.
“This case has always been about accountability, and today this jury verdict establishes without question accountability and provides for this family some tremendous level of relief,” plaintiffs’ attorney Dreyer told reporters afterward. “We never thought Jennifer did anything that would legally rise to a level of responsibility.”
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