The widow of a man struck and killed by lightning in the parking lot of the Pocono Raceway
in Monroe County has filed a wrongful death suit in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas against the race track and NASCAR.
Marion Zimmerman, of Moosic, Pa., and widow of Brian Zimmerman, says that the defendants exhibited negligence by refusing to cancel the race on Aug. 5, 2012, despite warnings of a severe thunderstorm for the area issued by the National Weather Service.
According to the complaint, the warning was transmitted at approximately 4:12 p.m., and the race organizers began using social media outlets at 4:21 p.m. to warn attending fans of the approaching storm. However, the race was permitted to continue, and Zimmerman did not have access to social media and did not see the alert.
Finally, at approximately 4:54 p.m., the race was called off because of the weather, and at 4:59 p.m. another social media alert was issued warning the fans to seek shelter. Again, Zimmerman did not have a smartphone nor was he a Twitter user and did not see the warning message.
At 5 p.m., Zimmerman was struck by lightning in the parking lot, causing severe pain and cardiac arrest, ultimately leading to his death, the complaint says. Ten other people were also struck and injured by lightning, but Zimmerman was the only fatality.
Both defendants have been held equally negligent by Marion Zimmerman for their alleged failure to adequately warn visitors of the impending storm, canceling or postponing the race early enough to give patrons time to find safe cover and not having a proper lightning safety plan.
As a result of Zimmerman's death, Marion and their three children have been denied his future earnings and his contributions to the raising of their family, the complaint says.
The plaintiff is represented by Thomas Comerford, with Foley, Comerford & Cummins.
The case ID number is 140704095.