Lawsuit develops from parade mishap in Sleepy Eye

SLEEPY EYE – The Girl Scouts of Minnesota and two Sleepy Eye college students were named defendants in a civil lawsuit filed in Brown County District Court late last year by a Sleepy Eye resident.

Tracy Bertrand, the parent of Brianna Bertrand, is the plaintiff in a lawsuit seeking more than $50,000 plus her costs and disbursements, pre-judgement and statutory interest and other relief against the Girl Scouts of Minnesota, Bridget Mathiowetz and Cassie Cselovszki, according to a complaint filed Dec. 27, 2012, by Gerald L. Maschka of Maschka, Riedy & Ries of Mankato.

Brianna Bertrand was a member of the Sleepy Eye swim team coached by Mathiowetz and Cselovszki. Bertrand was riding on the team float when she was injured during the 2011 Sleepy Eye Buttered Corn Days Grand Parade, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims negligent training and instruction of the Girl Scouts of Minnesota to instruct, supervise and train the girls swim team for the parade. As a direct result, Brianna Bertrand was injured and has experienced pain, suffering, disfigurement, emotional distress and medical expense into the indefinite future, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit claims the Girl Scouts of Minnesota is vicariously liable for negligence of case defendants, according to the complaint.

Maschka said Bertrand did not suffer broken legs in the mishap but has “severe scaring” on her legs.

The Answer to the Complaint filed Jan. 8, 2013 by St. Paul attorney Terri L. Hommerding of John G. Ness & Associates for the defendant Girl Scouts of Minnesota, denied each and very allegation and denies defendants were guilty of any carelessness, negligence or other improper conduct.

The Answer to the Complaint alleged any injuries or damages sustained by the Plaintiff were due to, caused by, and solely the result of:

Their own carelessness, negligence, or other improper conduct the result of risks voluntarily and knowingly assumed.

An unavoidable accident or of conduct on the part of third persons over whom the defendant had no control and for those whose conduct defendant is not responsible or liable.

Alleges that even if defendant were guilty of negligence, which is specifically denied, such conduct did not cause any harm to plaintiff.

That plaintiff’s damages were the result of conduct of other persons which intervened between any conduct of defendant and plaintiff’s injuries and superseded it.

Alleged that plaintiff is without knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of damage claims, and therefore, denies plaintiff’s allegations.

Alleges that plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.

Defendant Girl Scouts actions or inactions were not the proximate cause of plaintiff’s injuries or damages.

Plaintiff’s claims are barred or reduced by the extent of any insurance proceeds or other collateral sources that contributed to cover or respond to damages claimed.

Defendant affirmatively alleges defendants Mathiowetz and Cselovszki were not employees or agents of defendant Girl Scouts nor where they authorized to act on their behalf.

Hommerding asked the plaintiff’s pretended cause of action be dismissed and judgement be awarded in their favor, along with costs and disbursements, according to court documents.

Hommerding requesting a jury trial be held this summer. She added that the Girl Scouts don’t agree with other case legal counsel that Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mediation is appropriate for the case.

No case hearing dates have been set.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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