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Court: Madras boys who saw brother die can sue for distress

7-year-old was struck, killed in 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that two boys who saw their 7-year-old brother get killed by a pickup truck in Central Oregon can proceed with a lawsuit seeking damages for emotional distress.

Multiple news outlets reported previous case law barred the boys, who were 8 and 12 at the time of the 2011 incident in Madras, from seeking compensation because they hadn't suffered physical injury. Dennis Kluser made a left turn into one of the brothers, Austin Hollenbeck-Hatch.

The state's high court said Thursday the boys didn't need to be physically harmed to seek compensation for psychological injuries.

Their lawsuit, filed by Dwyer, Williams and Potter, seeks over $51,000 for counseling and hundreds of thousands of dollars for mental anguish.

The brothers' case will now be able to proceed toward trial.


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