Thursday, December 14, 2017

Number of Recurring Auto Accident Litigation Issues Addressed in Federal Middle District Court Decision

In the case of Knecht v. Balanescu, No. 4:16-CV-00549 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 30, 2017 Mehalchick, Mag. J.), is notable for decisions by the court on many common Motion In Limine issues arising out of a motor vehicle accident litigation.   Such notable decisions include the following:
- There was no intentional destruction of relevant documents to justify a finding of spoliation. 

- A human factors expert is not qualified to testify about accident reconstruction.

Prior drunk driving tickets were excluded as unduly prejudicial where alcohol had nothing to do with the accident in question.   However, other driving tickets were admissible as relevant to the negligent hiring claim. 

- Defendant’s expert testimony concerning the effect of Plaintiff’s blood alcohol content, although not supported by other exigent evidence, was found to be sufficiently thorough to be admissible.  

- Since the Plaintiff was seeking to recover for permanent injuries, evidence of prior drug abuse was found to be relevant on the issue of life expectancy.  

- Evidence of the Plaintiff’s cell phone use and texting was sufficiently close to the accident as to be admissible.

- Plaintiff’s traffic citations with respect to the accident were found to be admissible under the Federal Rules of Evidence.  

- Where the Plaintiff is claiming injuries that are the same as he claimed in a prior dissimilar accident, the prior accident is admissible as relevant to the issue of causation of those injuries without regard to the similarity of the facts of the separate accidents.   

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

I send thanks to Attorney James M. Beck of the Philadelphia office of Reed Smith and the writer of the Drug and Device Law blog for bringing this case to my attention.   



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