West Virginia Racetrack Settles Lawsuit with Paralyzed Jockey

October 8, 2009

MTR Gaming Group Inc. has settled a 3-year-old lawsuit by a jockey who was paralyzed from the chest down in a West Virginia racing accident.

Gary Birzer sued MTR and Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, arguing they failed to repair soft spots and holes, and allowed an unhealthy horse to run.

Birzer, who lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, was riding Lil Bit of Rouge in July 2004, when the thoroughbred went down. He was thrown headfirst into the dirt at 40 mph.

Birzer and wife Amy sued for more than $12 million in damages, including medical expenses and lost wages.

In a filing with federal regulators Tuesday, MTR said it settled Aug. 29, with its insurer paying an unspecified amount.

Birzer’s Michigan attorney, Dane Lupo, declined comment.

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