MOORHEAD — A wrongful death lawsuit filed after two teenage brothers died in a crash on their way to a basketball tournament in 2015 is on track for a July 22 trial in Clay County District Court.
A pretrial hearing was held Monday, May 13, and another pretrial hearing is set for July 11 in the case involving Zach Kvalvog, 18, and his 14-year-old brother, Connor, who died on June 23, 2015, in a crash on Interstate 94 near Dalton, Minn.
Zach Kvalvog was driving his brother and two teammates to a tournament in Wisconsin when the crash happened. A semi veered into Zach Kvalvog's lane, causing him to swerve out of the way and overcorrect, a Minnesota State Patrol report said.
The Dodge pickup truck Zach Kvalvog was driving rolled into the median and ended up on the interstate's westbound lanes.
The brothers died in the crash. Passengers Mark Schwandt and Jimmy Morton were hospitalized, but they recovered.
The suit filed by Raymond Kvalvog, father of Zach and Connor, claims that Josh Lee, who was the basketball coach of Moorhead's Park Christian School at the time of the crash, was negligent for failing to "maintain a reasonable means of transportation to a school athletic event."
The suit also claims the school was vicariously liable for any negligence on Lee's part.
Lee and Park Christian School remain as defendants in the suit, while two other entities originally named as defendants — FCA US, aka Chrysler Group, and the Secura insurance company — have settled claims, according to information shared during Monday's hearing.
The lawsuit states that at the time of the crash the pickup truck the youths were in was the subject of a recall concerning faulty steering and that Zach and Connor Kvalvog were covered under an automobile insurance policy that included uninsured benefits that had coverage limits of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per crash.
Raymond Kvalvog said after Monday's hearing, as he has in the past, that his primary reason for filing the suit was to find out the truth about what happened the day his sons died.
Raymond Kvalvog's attorney, Michael Bryant, said in court Monday that Secura has made its payment to settle claims against it, but final disbursement of the money has yet to be made.
A court order approving distribution of money recovered from Secura that was signed in December allows Raymond Kvalvog to distribute $500,000 in settlement proceeds that include: a payment of about $166,666 to himself; a payment of an identical amount to Katherine Kvalvog, mother of Zach and Connor Kvalvog; and a payment of about $166,666 to a law firm as payment of attorney fees.
Court records indicate details regarding the settlement involving Chrysler Group have been sealed.
Raymond Kvalvog said Monday that although a reward was offered seeking information about the semi truck reported to have been involved in the crash — described in court documents as "a phantom vehicle" — the identity of the truck driver was never determined.