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Appeals court reinstates trucker’s wrongful death suit

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A trial court erred in granting summary judgment for an axle manufacturer sued by the estate of a contract truck driver who died when a load fell on him in an accident that occurred while the facility was closed.

A panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals remanded to Wabash Circuit Judge Robert R. McCallen III Linda Huffman, Individually and as Personal Rep. of the Estate of Jerry Huffman, Deceased v. Dexter Axle Company & Evans Equipment Co., 85A02-1207-CT-586. The panel held that Dexter Axle Company owed a duty of reasonable care to Jerry Huffman as a business visitor who had permission to pick up loads even when the company was closed and no employees were present.

“As a matter of law, Dexter owed a duty to Huffman on the day of the accident. Genuine issues of material fact exist as to the remaining elements of Linda’s claim. We reverse and remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings,” Judge Rudy Pyle III wrote in an opinion joined by Chief Judge Margaret Robb.

Judge Melissa May concurred in result but split with Pyle and Robb on their finding that the evidence demonstrates a genuine issue of material fact regarding breach of duty due to violation of OSHA regulations that may have led to the accident.

“I agree we should reverse summary judgment for Dexter for the reasons the majority states: Dexter owed Huffman, its invitee, a duty and there are fact issues as to breach and proximate cause,” May wrote in the concurring opinion. “However, I believe it is unnecessary, and therefore inappropriate, to address OSHA regulations, DOT regulations, the interpretation and application of those regulations, preemption, and congressional intent in this relatively straightforward premises liability case.”


 

 

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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