Kenneth Nolan Hits Panther While Riding Motorcycle, Sues Florida Department of Transportation
Some lawsuits make you want to punch mankind's collective crotch and pray to the gods that the Mayans were right about the whole 2012 thing.
Case in point: Kenneth Nolan filed a suit in Broward County Court seeking $15,000 from the Florida Department of Transportation because he hit a panther while riding his motorcycle on Tamiami Trail.
How dare that endangered species hit Mr. Nolan's motorbike!
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According to the lawsuit, "On or about March 31, the plaintiff Kenneth Nolan was injured on Tamiami Trail, U.S. 41 near Turn River Road...Nolan was riding his motorcycle west...and struck a panther causing him to be injured."
Nolan is suing the state and a company called Transcore for 15 grand a piece on grounds that a Roadside Animal Detection System -- or RADS -- failed to alert him to the presence of the cat and caused the accident.
The state installed the system along certain stretches of panther habitat. A series of amber lights is supposed to alert drivers when a panther is near. That apparently didn't happen.
Nolan claims that FDOT was "negligent in not maintaining its warning system in a manner that would be safe for drivers." He also claims that Transcore "negligently designed the R.A.D. warning system."
Nolan claims he suffered "bodily injury and resulting pain...disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, expense of hospitalization, medical and nursing care and treatment, loss of earning, loss of ability to earn money, and aggravation of a pre-existing condition," according to the lawsuit.
It's unclear what the panther suffered from after getting hit, or if it died.
Florida Fish and Wildlife said it was notified of the incident on April 1. "Witnesses claimed the panther lay in the road after being hit and was believed to be dead. But shortly thereafter it got up and ran into woods on the south side of the highway," according to an FWC bulletin.
In a web message board, a user identified as Nolan said the radiator and oil cooler were full of panther hair when a mechanic inspected his badly damaged bike after the accident.
A friend of Nolan's who was riding along with him the day of the accident previously told reporters the he saw a panther leap onto a guard rail and then jump on the road. Nolan said he suffered a brain bleed, a fractured shoulder, and a "severely displaced" clavicle.
He has repeatedly expressed dismay over the fate of the animal and said on numerous occasions that he wants to help protect the species. His new lawsuit is certainly drawing attention to the plight of the cat.
Debbie Tower, a spokeswoman with FDOT, said she's unable to comment about ongoing cases. Nolan's lawyer didn't immediately return calls for comment.
There are approximately 100 Florida panthers in the wild. At least 16 have died this year.
A full copy of Nolan's lawsuit can be found here.
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