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Judges reverse summary judgment in collision case

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It should be up to a judge or jury to determine whether a driver’s distance in relation to the vehicle in front of him had any impact on a collision between the driver and another vehicle on Interstate 65.

Brittney Romero sued Teddy Brady; Advantage Tank Lines LLC, his employer; and Jonathan Stigler after she was severely injured in a car crash with Brady while driving on I-65 in Scott County. Romero was driving in the left lane and Brady was driving a tractor-trailer in the right lane behind Stigler, who was driving a box truck. After Romero passed Brady, Stigler swerved into the left lane, causing her to drive off the road, lose control and drive perpendicularly into the right lane in front of Brady’s truck, which struck her car.

Romero settled with Stigler, but Brady and Advantage sought summary judgment on Romero’s negligence complaint. They argued Brady did not owe Romero a duty to maintain a certain distance behind Stigler’s truck, and even if he was following Stigler’s truck too closely, there’s no dispute he had a part in causing Romero’s car to leave the road or enter his lane.

Romero argued that Brady owed her a duty of reasonable care and that if he had not been following the truck in front of him as closely, he would have had time to react to the incident. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Brady and his employer.

It is well established that motorists have a duty to use due care to avoid collisions, and whether a driver was following another motorist too closely goes to the issue of breach, Judge Michael Barnes wrote in Brittney L. Romero v. Teddy Brady and Advantage Tank Lines, LLC, 72A05-1308-CT-471.

The judges found Brady owed Romero a duty to use due care.

“Without assessing Romero’s likelihood of success at trial, we conclude that the Appellees, as the moving party, did not specifically address the issue of breach in their motion for summary judgment and have not established that only a single inference can be drawn from the facts. The issue of breach remains a question for the trier of fact.” Barnes wrote in reversing summary judgment.

“An act or omission is the proximate cause of an injury if the ultimate injury is one that was foreseen, or reasonably should have been foreseen, as the natural and probable consequence of the act or omission. Whether the collision between Brady and Romero was foreseen or reasonably foreseeable as a natural consequence of Brady following Stigler at the distance he was is a question for the trier of fact.”
 

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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