Punkin Chunkin Bill Dies In Committee - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Punkin Chunkin Bill Dies In Committee

Posted:
 DOVER - A bill that would keep one of Delaware's most popular fall events in the First State was killed in a Senate Committee vote today. The legislation, proposed by Senator Brian Pettyjohn, would have placed a $1,000,000 liability cap on non-economic damages awarded for personal injury or wrongful death at special events. Similar to Maryland law, it did not limit punitive damages or economic damages like lost wages and medical bills.

Punkin Chunkin was a huge economic boost to the farming communities in Sussex County that have hosted it. But ever since Dale Wheatley, who hosted the event on his Bridgeville farm from 2007 to 2013, was sued by an injured volunteer in 2013, it has been feared that the event would leave the state.

“It's a sad day,” Sen. Pettyjohn said. “We're talking about an event that had a $15,000,000 economic impact on Delaware. We're talking about an organization that gave about $100,000 to charities in Delaware and $50,000 in scholarships to local schoolchildren. This is an organization that has done nothing but good for Delaware and we're kicking them out of the state.”

Delaware currently does not have a liability cap meaning organizers and landowners could be sued for any amount in the event of an unforeseen accident. There have been fears the event would leave the state since an injured volunteer sued the farm owner hosting punkin chunkin in 2013.

The event was cancelled all together last year but is scheduled to return this October at the Dover International Speedway.

Democratic leaders in he committee voted against the measure which also was opposed by the Delaware Trial Lawyers Association.



 
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