A racetrack liability suit involving the Churchill Downs Louisiana Horseracing Company is set to start jury trial on June 14 in Orleans Parish Civil District Court.

Sarah Drury is suing her former employer, Churchill Downs, as well as Kenneth McPeek Racing Stable Inc. and the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company after a bail of hay allegedly was thrown from a loft and struck Drury on the head.

New Orleans attorney James Sutterfield filed the suit on behalf of Drury on July 7, 2005.

New Orleans attorneys Elizabeth Ryan and Andre Stakelum are representing Churchill Downs. Stephen Duvalle, also from New Orleans, is representing Kenneth McPeek Racing Stable and St. Paul Fire and Marine.

The suit claims that Drury was working on the racetrack leading a horse to its stable in December 2004. Upon exiting the stable, another unidentified worker threw a 150-foot bail of hay out of a loft, which Drury did not see "because of the construction of the loft."

The suit claims "there have been numerous injuries of the type suffered by the petitioner at this New Orleans facility" though it does not cite a specific case. Four other premises liability suits have been filed against Churchill Downs since 2005 but only one was filed before Drury's suit.

Churchill Downs filed a cross claim against McPeek stable claiming the liability for Drury's injury is entirely upon them and their anonymous employee. In its defense, Churchill Downs also claimed that the incident happened as a "result of the plaintiff's own negligence and fault."

McPeek denied all liability.

Ryan and Stakelum became substitute counsel for Churchill Downs' original attorney, James Sutterfield, on Feb. 25, 2009.

Orleans Parish Judge Piper Griffin will hear this case.

Orleans Parish Case 2005-09287

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