Family of Jockey Wins $7.8 Million for His Racetrack Death

A jockey’s family has been awarded $7.8 million in a lawsuit against a Pennsylvania racetrack where the jockey died almost four years ago.

Mario Calderon, the jockey, died after he was dragged and repeatedly kicked by the horse he was exercising. Calderon suffered broken ribs and a brain bleed, according to Philadelphia’s KYW-TV.

Calderon’s family sued the racetrack for allegedly creating an unsafe working environment, which caused his death.

More than half of the damages awarded to the Calderon family come out of punitive damages, according to KYW-TV, that amount is $5 million.

Punitive damages are awarded with the intention to punish the wrongdoer. Unlike actual damages, punitive damages are used to “teach a lesson” and punish the defendant for negligence.

In Pennsylvania, punitive damages can be awarded when the defendant’s acts are the result of reckless indifference to the rights of others or done with an evil or malicious motive.

The horse Calderon was riding became spooked by roaming chickens, causing the fatal accident at the Parx Casino & Racetrack. Parx allegedly created an unsafe environment by allowing the chickens to roam on the track. Previously, a jockey had been injured when a chicken scared his horse, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.  This was not the first time this exact incident took place.

Why hadn’t Parx done anything to keep the chickens away from the racetrack after the first incident occurred? This tragedy was preventable and Parx must be held accountable for their negligence.

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