ILNews

Rear-ended motorist found 70 percent liable wins on appeal

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrint

A jury that found a Kokomo motorist 70 percent at fault when his vehicle sitting at an intersection was rear-ended misread the law, as did a judge who instructed jurors, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

Marshall Banter, who was injured five years ago, will get a new trial, the panel ruled. He twice has been found 70 percent at fault in the crash, and he appealed the trial court’s denial of his motion to correct error after the most recent verdict.

In Marshall Banter v. Joshua Sheets, 34A05-1212-CT-629, the court ruled that the jury misunderstood and misapplied Indiana’s Comparative Fault Act, particularly because Sheets did not dispute his liability in the crash.   
 
The appellate panel found fault with the following instruction Howard Superior Judge George A. Hopkins offered jurors: “If you find a plaintiff failed to use reasonable care to minimize any of the damages he alleges he has sustained and that failure was a proximate cause of any of the damages he claims, then such conduct would constitute fault to be assessed against the plaintiff.”

“We hold that … portion of this jury instruction is an incorrect statement of the law,” Judge Edward Najam wrote for the court.

"Because Sheets conceded liability, the only issue for the jury to determine was the amount of Banter’s damages, and there was no basis for any assessment of fault against Banter. We reverse and remand for a new trial, and the jury shall be instructed in relevant part that Sheets has conceded 100% fault in causing the accident and that the jury shall only determine the amount of Banter’s damages, if any."
 

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Indiana State Bar Association

Indianapolis Bar Association

Evansville Bar Association

Allen County Bar Association

Indiana Lawyer on Facebook

facebook
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
ADVERTISEMENT