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Motorcycle Accident

July 17, 2013
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Driveway repair impairs traffic flow, leads to motorcycle accident

Action: Civil

Name of Case: Garrett Minniear v. Chase King d/b/a King Masonry LLC

Court: Marion Superior Court, Civil Division

Court Case Number: 49D03-0902-CT-008280

Injuries: Minniear’s injuries included two severely crushed feet, broken vertebrae, road rash, concussion and a comminuted fracture of both bones in his lower right arm.

Court Date: Oct. 25, 2012

Trial Type: Jury Trial

Judge: Hon. Patrick McCarty

Disposition: The jury returned a verdict for compensatory damages of $3 million, which was reduced to $1.8 million for 40 percent comparative fault. An additional $412,644 was added to this amount for post judgment interest which increased the total amount of compensation rendered to $2,212,644. The case is now in appeal.

Plaintiff Attorneys: Richard A. Cook and Bryan Tisch

Defendant Attorneys: W. Brent Threlkeld and Benjamin Stevenson

Insurance: American Family Insurance

Case Information: Minniear was riding a Suzuki Motorcycle southbound in the 7300 block of North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana. Meridian Street had four lanes at this location where Chase King d/b/a King Masonry LLC, was repaving a driveway. While doing the construction, King Masonry, placed debris in the western southbound lane of travel in the 7300 block of North Meridian Street, causing southbound traffic to slow and merge into the left lane. King Masonry did not use a flagman, arrow board or advance warning signs to inform the motoring public of the imminent lane closure. Instead, King used undersized cones approximately one foot in height that were not visible until traffic was right on top of the construction site.

King did not secure a permit and approval for the traffic plan for the closure of the lane and shoulder. Had King sought the appropriate permits, municipal authorities would have required a traffic control plan compliant with appropriate standard as set forth in the Indiana Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices.

Minniear had larger vehicles in front of him limiting his view of what was ahead. When a truck Minniear was following in the right lane merged left close to the hazard, Minniear had to quickly decide how to extricate himself. He could not go right because there was a dump truck on the shoulder facing the wrong way. After vehicles directly ahead of him merged left, Minniear took evasive action and merged left between two other vehicles in the left lane. It was necessary for Minniear to cut left around the outside of the truck ahead of him to avoid hitting it.

When Minniear moved slightly left of the vehicles in the left lane, he hit a raised median separating the north and southbound lanes. This caused Minniear to lose control, accelerate and careen back across the two southbound lanes. He struck a pile of debris which sent him and his motorcycle airborne into a front lawn. After his motorcycle landed in the front lawn, Minniear continued moving and struck a lamp post before he and his motorcycle came to a stop together near a large fir tree. Minniear sustained a concussion and was unable to recall how the accident occurred.

Conflicting testimony was presented by the witnesses concerning the motorcycle’s exact speed. The crash report showed all but one of the testifying eyewitnesses had estimated Minniear was going “only” 35 to 40 mph. In addition to the parties, a number of other witnesses testified. These included six eyewitnesses, law enforcement officers dispatched to the scene, a city inspector, doctors and experts. Gary Chambers from Wolf Technical established safety guidelines for a temporary lane closure for a construction site as did several police officers and the city inspector. Minniear’s injuries included two severely crushed feet, broken vertebrae, road rash, concussion and a comminuted fracture of both bones in his lower right arm. Minniear’s medical expenses were $136,000, to a low of $82,000 for Stanley v. Walker reductions. Both compensatory and punitive damages were sought. The jury saw fit to award only compensatory damages and found total damages in the sum of $3 million, which was reduced by 40 percent comparative fault by the plaintiff, who was alleged to have operated his motorcycle at an unsafe speed and left of center. Prejudgment interest increased the total amount of compensation rendered to $2,212,644. The case is now in appeal.

Submitting Attorney: Richard A. Cook•
 

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  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

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