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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. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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