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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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