On Sept. 9, 2008, the plaintiff, Kevin Burkhamer, was injured when he was struck by a car driven by the defendant, Mel Richard Krumske. Burkhamer filed a lawsuit against Krumske claiming that he injured his hip, elbow, shoulder, left hand, neck and back. Burkhamer was employed as an ironworker and excavator. The plaintiff’s total medical bills were just under $45,000.
At the jury trial, the defendant Krumske admitted negligence and did not attend the trial. During direct examination of Burkhamer, he was asked if he ever had a conversation with the defendant. After the plaintiff responded no, the defendant’s lawyer objected. The trial judge sustained the objection on the basis of relevance. The plaintiff then was asked if he was aware that defendant had admitted negligence just before trial. When the plaintiff answered yes, the trial court sustained defendant’s objection and ordered the jury to “disregard the mention of the timeline.” The plaintiff Burkhamer was then asked if the defendant called him to apologize. Defense counsel objected on the basis of relevance, and the trial court granted his request for a sidebar.
At the sidebar, the defense counsel argued that the plaintiff’s line of questioning was designed to inflame the jury and moved for a mistrial. The court agreed that the line of questioning was improper and sustained the objection trial and the judge took the motion for mistrial under advisement. “I’m going to let us proceed and then we will. I’ll be able to determine this, of course the point is cited at the present. However, it may be possible that future conduct would be an appropriate consideration on my ruling on this motion . . .”