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Wind Lake Gymnastics Center and Claims against James Kivisto

Our firm is currently investigating claims against the Racine County based gymnastics center known as “Wind Lake Gymnastics Center,” its owner James “Jim” Kivisto and USA Gymnastics.  There are possibly hundreds of victims from our community.  It seems that James Kivisto had been videotaping young girls for quite a while and now admits that he recorded his victims changing on “multiple occasions.”  Fox 6 Milwaukee has posted numerous articles about these incidents and the work that the Racine Sheriff and law enforcement now have to undertake to decipher who was, in fact, a victim of these crimes.

The sad thing is that any parent whose child was coached at Wind Lake Gymnastics may be a victim and it’s not unreasonable that all parents have now had to talk with young kids about this.  Many parents are asking themselves whether they can ever trust a coach again.    Attorney Groth recently stated, “The lack of diligence in certifying Wind Lake Gymnastics has cost our community so much.  I hope these kids are able to continue in sports – its such an important part of growing up.  But, as a parent I understand if you want to never let your child out of your sight!”

If you would like to talk about the process involved in claims like those against the Windy Lake Gymnastics Center and James Kivisto please call our office (414-375-2030).  Our attorneys have tried negligent supervision cases and Attorney Groth has helped a number of survivors of assault and rape obtain verdicts (and the closure associated with a verdict) before Wisconsin Circuit Courts.

Contact Groth Law Firm

Does Driverless Mean Less Responsibility?

In recent months talk regarding driverless cars has reached a fever pitch as companies continue to pour resources into creating the first consumer-ready prototypes. Uber, an established leader in the ride-sharing gig economy, is on the forefront of this movement. Although is it easy to get excited at the prospect of our cars driving us to our errands, or through rush hour traffic, recent events raise questions about the safety and responsible use of these cars.
Although reports of minor accidents early in the development of these vehicles was met with little media coverage or caution, a fatal accident on March 18th, 2018, exposes serious concerns with this new technology. Elain Herberg, a 49-year-old woman, was struck while walking her bicycle across the street in Tempe Arizona. Elain was transported to the hospital from the scene and passed away from her injuries at a local hospital. Although preliminary reports are short on details, Tempe Police Detective Lily Duran reported that the car could have been traveling approximately 40 mph in a 35 mph zone. Local authorities from the Tempe Police Department are investigating, and the National Transportation Safety Board is also pursuing it’s own investigation.

Uber offered the following statement via a spokesperson, “Our hearts go out to the victim’s family. We are fully cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation of this incident.”
Despite Uber’s condolences to the family of the deceased, it is unclear if the company will accept full liability for the vehicle’s actions. Negligence in the age of driverless cars is uncharted territory, and although there has been significant speculation about how to handle driverless car accidents, very little has been incorporated into any new law.

At the time of the crash the Uber vehicle was in “self-driving mode.” Perhaps as precautionary measure, a vehicle operator was in the vehicle at the time of the crash. As of now, it is unclear how much control this operator had prior to, or at the moment of the crash. Arizona is well known as an early adopter of self-driving cars. In fact, just this month the Governor of Arizona, Doug Ducey signed an executive order allowing for self-driving cars to be used on state roads without a human driver behind the wheel. A few factors influenced this decision and include; Arizona’s dry, static climate and the large population of nearby retired individuals who are expected to benefit from this technology.

In this instance, the self-driving car that caused this accident was owned and being tested by Uber. Other major manufacturers, such as Google and GM have analogous test models and are still investing heavily in the development of autonomous vehicle tech.

This technology raises a myriad of legal issues. Is there a products liability case if something inherent in the vehicle causes an accident? If the vehicle acts in accordance with it’s programming and an unforeseen variable causes a wreck, is the operator negligent if they do not adapt to this variable? Most self-driving cars have an onboard camera system that shows all angles of a vehicle’s surroundings. Will this affect how accident reports are constructed? If a crash is imminent will a self-driving car take action to save it’s own occupants over other cars? Pedestrians?

It can be scary and almost impossible to approach this issue on your own. If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a self-driving car you need not only an experienced attorney, but a law firm that is willing to dive into unexplored areas of law on behalf of their clients. As mentioned, there is little law on this topic and you can be sure that major corporations will fight tooth and nail to protect their investments. If you want a law firm that is unafraid to take on the big guy, call Groth Law Firm.

Florida Bridge Tragedy

The bridge collapse that occurred last Thursday has claimed six lives. The bridge collapsed around 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 15th. Although officials say there will be no more casualties, they are going through the rubble again to ensure that no one else is trapped beneath it.  A total of 950 tons of rubble were moved when in search of the six victims. That same day, engineers gathered together to discuss the structural integrity of the bridge just hours before the collapse.

This new structure was supposed to connect Florida International University campus to the bordering neighborhood. The collapse happened months before the completion of the bridge. The bridge was supposed to enhance safety, keeping pedestrians safe from traffic due to a previous incident involving a fatal crash and a FIU student last August.

The meeting held at 9:00 a.m. that Thursday, gathered together engineers including the people responsible for designing the bridge (FIGG). The meeting was held to discuss a crack that appeared on the structure due to an observation that was made two days before, that Tuesday.

The Tuesday before the collapse, a FIGG engineer called an FDOT employee to warn about “some cracking” on the structure of the bridge. The FDOT employee was out on an assignment that day and missed the call, and did not hear the voicemail that was left by the engineer W. Denney Pate until Friday, the day after the collapse. The voicemail left by Pate discussed the crack that was found on the structure and stated that it needed to be repaired, however, he said there were no safety concerns.

It is unfortunate that six lives were lost in such a horrific and avoidable accident. At Groth Law Firm S.C., we have experience with a wide variety of cases dealing with wrongful death incidents, each one of our attorneys prepared and here to help you with your wrongful death case.

Traffic-Related Deaths Remain High in the U.S.

On February 15, 2018, the Wall Street Journal published an article entitled “U.S. Road-Death Rates Remain Near 10-Year High.” The article discusses the National Safety Council’s (NSC) statistics on traffic-related fatalities for 2017.[1] The NSC found that traffic-related deaths in the U.S. declined by approximately 1% in the year 2017. While any decline in traffic-related deaths is good news, analysts hoped to see an even larger decline following back to back increases in traffic-related fatalities in 2015 and 2016.

The National Safety Council is one of two primary organizations that publish data on roadway fatalities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also published data but only reports deaths occurring on public roadways. The NSC incorporates incidents from private roadways into their report which slightly increases the number of total fatalities.

The NSC reported a 7% increase in 2014 and a 6% in 2015.[2] Both years’ data came as a surprise because traffic-related deaths per vehicle miles traveled (VMT) have declined since 1921 (see graph below).[3]

The Wall Street Journal article also documents the comments of experts regarding the factors behind the unfortunate trend.[4] A spokesperson for the NSC attributed the rising fatality rate to drunk driving incidents. She cites the differences between the blood alcohol level laws in the United States and other nations and remarks that the best way to drive down roadway deaths is to reduce drunk driving. Automotive executives point to the increased use of hand-held devices as a catalyst for the trend. Automakers have focused resources in recent years to add hands-free technology in their vehicles to reduce this trend among motorists.

Experts are unable to pinpoint the exact reasons the trend in traffic-related fatalities has shifted upward in recent years; however, the problems of drunk driving and smartphone use continue to plague drivers across the nation.

In most cases, traffic accidents result in injuries rather than fatalities. Over the past decade, traffic-related injuries in the U.S. have vacillated between 2.2 million and 2.4 million.[5] The sheer volume of these numbers underscores the necessity of paying attention while driving. Of course, avoid driving while intoxicated and refrain from smartphone use, but it is also imperative to stay alert while operating a motor vehicle realizing that others may not exercise careful driving.

If you think you have been injured as the result of a traffic accident see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at 877-375-7001 with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of someone else’s negligent actions. Our initial consultations are always free.


[1] https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-rates-on-u-s-roads-remain-near-10-year-high-1518692401

[2] http://www.nsc.org/NewsDocuments/2017/12-month-estimates.pdf

[3] http://www.businessinsider.com/traffic-fatalities-historical-trend-us-2016-4

[4] https://www.wsj.com/articles/death-rates-on-u-s-roads-remain-near-10-year-high-1518692401

[5] https://www.statista.com/statistics/191900/road-traffic-related-injuries-and-fatalities-in-the-us-since-1988/

The New Trend: Legal Apps

This new digital technology is revolutionizing the practice of law. Some of the earliest well-known justice apps are legal aid attorneys. These apps can help individuals when they find themselves in the middle of a crime. There is an app called Stop & Frisk Watch that does just that, by helping prevent police brutality by being able to record an encounter between a police officer and the individual being questioned. A few other useful apps include: Citizenship Works, My Attorney Apps, Oh Crap, Ask a Lawyer, and Berniesez.

It has been found that legal apps can help deal with the legality of things from a much more informed vantage point. In addition, it has been debated that legal apps would come in handy while in the courtroom. It is believed that these new legal apps may end up educating citizenry and will be able to engage them in a meaningful way in the political process.

The hard part about creating and incorporating these apps into society however isn’t the technology. Politics, turf, funding, and other barriers are the obstacles that developing these legal apps face. With the creation of legal apps, it is believed that for some of the most basic questions an individual might not need to pay for a lawyer. It is predicted that in less than three years as much as eighty-five percent of all customer interactions, when dealing with cases, will not include a human being. For this reason, many highly encourage law firms to embrace this new technology and even create an app for their own firm.

Groth Law Firm, S.C. is on the cutting edge of technology. Our clients can communicate with us with email, text, sms or any of the “old fashioned” ways.  If you have questions about how we utilize technology to help our clients please ask one of our attorneys.



Personal Injury Cases Brought by Undocumented Immigrants

Legal status can sometimes deter many people from starting a possible personal injury claim. Undocumented immigrants often avoid any type of confrontation with the law because of the fear of deportation. Many undocumented immigrants are unaware that they are able to bring their personal injury cases in Wisconsin with less fear of fear possible repercussions.  Although the fear of deportation is reasonable, there are many steps and precautions that can be taken in order to avoid this.

Currently, if an undocumented immigrant were to submit a civil suit, there is no governmental procedure that notifies U.S Immigration Customs (ICE). Also, there doesn’t appear to be a case in which ICE has sought an undocumented individual due to their involvement in a civil suit. If an undocumented immigrant wished to submit a personal injury claim, that should not be a motive to trigger deportation concerns.

ICE is not likely to respond to a report of an undocumented immigrant unless the individual has a criminal record, has been previously deported, or has previously had a visa violation. Although it is true that any individual reported as undocumented is subject to removal, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) mandates the removal of undocumented immigrants who are either a threat to national security, border security, and public safety first. ICE tries to prioritize and ensure the removal of those individuals who are suspected terrorists, were apprehended while trying to enter the country illegally, or those individuals who were convicted of gang-related or felony crimes, before any other undocumented immigrants.

The Supreme Court of Wisconsin has stated that an individual’s legal status has an “obvious and substantial prejudicial effect”, and has prohibited the verification of legal status at trial. If the immigration status of an individual is proved to be relevant, steps can still be taken to protect them, an individual can still prevent the disclosure of his/her immigration status such as a protective order.

In many cases, courts have denied defense requests to uncover information such as addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, passports and also tax returns. If an individual is undocumented, it is recommended that the judge is alerted of potential prejudice as soon as possible. Open communication and careful preparation can go a long way in order to offer undocumented immigrants the opportunity to pursue their claims.


If you think you have been injured as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. at 877-375-7001 with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of someone else’s negligent actions. Our initial consultations are always free.  Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only.  It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice.  The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

The Stress Pain Causes in a Relationship

Chronic pain can be uncomfortable and stressful not only for the individual who is injured but also to their significant other. Pain can affect more than the individual who has obtained an injury, and it can affect other areas of their life.  Injuries often affect the people around the individual who is injured, and it is not always in a positive way. It is often the case that the significant other of the injured individual isn’t a hundred percent sympathetic. The reality is that when people hear someone talk about being in pain it can be kind of a drag, and they often end up tuning them out. This can end up having negative effects on the relationship and put stress on both individuals involved.

Sometimes partners become unsympathetic and tell their partner to just get up and deal with it and stop complaining about it. It is difficult to maintain a good relationship when there is hostility because their partner believes the pain is either exaggerated or all in their head. Once this doubt begins to surface, it is possible that the relationship itself begins to be doubted as well.

In some cases, partners become frustrated because they find themselves doing small tasks for their significant others that they do for their children. It becomes frustrating that your partner is of the same age as you but are behaving as an elderly person, constantly needing help and special attention. This frustrating begins to create a toxic relationship and can lead to deeper problems. If the injured individual doesn’t feel like they are receiving the proper understanding and support from their partner, it can lead to resentment. People want to feel loved and cared for when they find themselves in this situation, and when you don’t receive it, it can cause feelings of resentment.

Resentment, aversion and unmet expectations can lead to a stressful relationship. Partners that find themselves in pain may feel that they deserve a special kind of attention. If they don’t have these needs met, the unbalance of the relationship can cause problems in other areas of agreement, like finances or how to spend leisure time. It has been documented that relationships in which one partner is in pain tends to lead to a strenuous relationship, can cause more marital distress, more conflict and has a greater likelihood of divorce.

Lack Of Mobility Is Isolating

The loss of physical mobility is frightening and generates multiple other complications for the struggling individual. The loss of mobility is often caused by aging but can also be caused by tragic accidents. In either case, lack of mobility has far-reaching consequences not only physically, but also emotionally and socially.

An article published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior states, “Mobility is central to fulfilling needs beyond basic survival, such as social engagement”[1] The article highlights the many repercussions of the lack of physical mobility. One of the negative effects of immobility is reduced social engagement. This connection makes sense when applied to our everyday lives. The places and events we connect with people often require a level of physical mobility to allow us to be present.

Many people live through the disappointment of realizing their inability to attend a football game with friends or go shopping at the mall with their family. These events used to be part of their everyday lives, but with reduced mobility, they become difficult and time-consuming. The thought of slowing down friends and family down as they enjoy life burdens them. To avoid this feeling, they retract themselves from the social interactions they once actively participated in.

Even though society has made great strides in opening venues and events to those with mobility struggles, people often choose to withdraw anyway because of the inherent difficulties of their mobility level.

As the article mentioned above indicates, this sort of retraction from society causes harm to the individual’s social well-being. Relationships are built and maintained by steady interaction, and when that interaction is cut off, the relationship suffers. This effectively renders the individual socially isolated, which on its own is troubling. However, studies show that social isolation has even deeper effects on a person’s well-being.

In 2012, a study was conducted by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) that reported, “Reducing both social isolation and loneliness are important for quality of life and well-being.”[2] Engaging in healthy social interaction is a major force in increasing physical well-being and consequently life expectancy.

A study published by Brigham Young University in 2010 reiterates the importance of social interaction with overall health.[3] The study found that those with the strongest social relationships had a 50% higher chance of survival than those without strong social relationships. This data establishes that, “low social interaction harms longevity as much as alcoholism and smoking, has more impact than lack of exercise, and is twice as harmful as obesity.”[4]

Overall, the damaging effects of a lack of mobility extend farther than one would expect. In many cases, the lack of mobility causes a forced withdrawal from society. This withdrawal negatively impacts the individual and potentially shortens their life span. It important for people with mobility struggles to stay engaged with society, family, and friends even when it may be difficult. As humans, we require a certain level of engagement with others to stay healthy.

If you have lost mobility because of an injury as the result of a someone else’s negligence, see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of negligence. Our initial consultations are always free.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.


[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3683993/

[2] http://www.pnas.org/content/110/15/5797#sec-1

[3] http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000316

[4] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196056.php

Life with Chronic Pain can Cause Depression

Life with chronic or long-term pain is difficult and the depression that can accompany long-term pain makes it even worse. “Depression magnifies pain. It makes everyday living more difficult.”[1] Pain is considered chronic or long-term when it lasts beyond what would be expected from the original injury. This kind of pain can cause low energy, depression, and unusually high levels of stress hormones.[2]

Chronic pain can also disrupt sleep and make you more sensitive to other pain. You may even start to hurt in areas that used to feel fine. According to the American Pain Foundation, research shows that around 32 million people in the United States report pain that has lasted for a year or more – that means that one in ten Americans report chronic or long-term pain. Between 25 and 50% of those who talk to their doctors about long-term pain are clinically depressed.[3]

“People with chronic pain have three times the average risk of developing psychiatric symptoms — usually mood or anxiety disorders — and depressed patients have three times the average risk of developing chronic pain.”[4]

“Pain provokes an emotional response in everyone. If you have pain, you may also have anxiety, irritability, and agitation. These are normal feelings when you’re hurting. Usually, as pain subsides, so does the stressful response. But with chronic pain, you may feel constantly tense and stressed. Over time, the stress can result in different emotional problems associated with depression. Some of the problems individuals with both chronic pain and depression have include:”

  • Altered mood
  • Chronic anxiety
  • Decreased self-esteem
  • Family stress
  • Fatigue
  • Fear of injury
  • Financial concerns
  • Physical deconditioning
  • Reduced sexual interest and activity
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Social isolation
  • Weight gain or loss[5]

“Researchers once thought the relationship between pain, anxiety, and depression resulted mainly from psychological rather than biological factors. Chronic pain is depressing, and likewise major depression may feel physically painful. But as researchers have learned more about how the brain works, and how the nervous system interacts with other parts of the body, they have discovered that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.”[6]

The combination of depression and pain is reflected in the circuitry of the nervous system. Pain goes both ways between the body and the brain. Normally, the brain interrupts the signals of physical discomfort so that we can function. When this shutoff valve is broken, physical sensations, including pain, are more likely to become the center of attention. The pathways of the brain that handle pain, including the brain’s center of emotion, use some of the same pathways for regulating mood. When regulation fails, pain is intensified along with sadness, hopelessness, and anxiety. And chronic pain, like chronic depression, can alter the functioning of the nervous system and make itself worse in a continuing cycle.[7]

From a common-sense view point, “’we know that simply having a bad headache or back pain for a day can affect our mood. Imagine having that pain every day for six months. It’s actually quite reasonable to expect anxiety and depression with chronic pain,’ says pain management specialist Hersimren Basi, MD.”[8]

If you have pain and depression because of an injury as the result of a someone else’s negligence, see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of negligence. Our initial consultations are always free.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

[1] https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-chronic-pain#1

[2] https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-chronic-pain#1

[3] https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-chronic-pain#1

[4] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/depression-and-pain

[5] https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-chronic-pain#1

[6] https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/the-pain-anxiety-depression-connection

[7] https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/depression-and-pain

[8] https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2017/08/why-chronic-pain-brings-you-down-how-to-feel-better/

Loss of Mobility is Scary

Loss of mobility can be scary. According to researchers at Harvard University Medical school, loss of mobility is not just an inconvenience – it is a major life-altering event. Anyone from the elderly to the physically active can be affected by loss of mobility. Sometimes it is the result of aging, but, just as often, it is because of an injury.

Loss of mobility “has profound social, psychological, and physical consequences.”[1] These consequences can be emotionally and mentally damaging. Imagine not being able to get up and move in an emergency, or not being able to make a quick trip to the store, or not being able to visit friends or family. Think about how many times a day you get up out of your chair and go to the bathroom, head over to the fridge for a snack, or simply go grab something you need from the other room. Now imagine not being able to do any of those things or being at the mercy of someone else to help you do them.

The consequences of loss of mobility are far-reaching. “Social engagement, the real life activity that results from association with one’s social ties, is important in reinforcing existing social relationships and provides a sense of value and identity,” and the loss of these ties can be scary and isolating for someone who has been injured.[2]

The loss of mobility is such a life-changing and scary thing that there are hundreds of websites and user posts dedicated to dealing with the fear and isolation that comes with the loss of mobility. Researchers pour thousands of dollars and hours into finding ways to help reduce the fear that results from a loss of mobility after an injury.

One study of active individuals showed that, unlike those who could continue their activities, the individuals who were stopped from taking part in activities for as little as two weeks resulted in “significantly greater symptoms of psychological distress, including depression, anxiety, confusion, over-all mood disturbance, and lower self-esteem.”[3]

For a normally active individual, not being able to be active for a little as two weeks can result in depression, anxiety, and lowed self-esteem. Two weeks is enough for depression and anxiety, imagine the effect of a life-time of lost mobility.

According to the Shepheard Center, a non-profit hospital, people who suffer a loss of mobility are likely to go through the same stages of grief as those who have lost a loved one – denial, disbelief, sadness, and anger.[4] Long-lasting or permeant loss of mobility can cause someone the same type of emotional distress—the same sadness and fears—as someone who has lost a loved one.

If you have lost mobility because of an injury as the result of a someone else’s negligence, see a doctor, and, as always, please call Groth Law Firm, S.C. with any questions.  We are available 24/7 to discuss your options as the victim of negligence. Our initial consultations are always free.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. It is not medical advice and should not be used as medical advice. The legal statutes, laws, and procedures contained in this article may not be current and may have been revised since the time of publication or contain errors. An attorney can provide legal guidance only after reviewing the details of your individual case.

[1] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/two-questions-can-reveal-mobility-problems-in-seniors-201309186682

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3683993/

[3] http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.1988.66.3.875

[4] https://www.shepherd.org/patient-programs/spinal-cord-injury/after-rehab/adapting-to-loss-of-mobility