Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Plaintiff's Vehicle Need Not Have Been Actually Impacted by Defendant's Vehicle To State A Valid Claim of Negligence in Chain Reaction Accident


In the case of Sutcliffe v. Bernese, No. 4:19-cv-00317 (M.D. Pa. Aug. 12, 2019 Brann, J.), Judge Matthew W. Brann, denied a defendant’s Motion to Dismiss in a multi-vehicle accident case.  The court ruled that liability in a multi-vehicle accident situation does not require that the plaintiff’s vehicle have actually been impacted by the Defendant’s vehicle. 

In this matter, it was asserted by the defendant tractor trailer driver that his actions did not factually cause the plaintiff’s alleged injuries in this multi-vehicle accident during which numerous vehicles hit the plaintiff’s vehicle.   This particular defendant asserted that, because his tractor-trailer never came into contact with the plaintiff’s vehicle, that defendant could not be found to be a factual cause of the plaintiff’s injuries or damages.  

Judge Matthew W. Brann
M.D. Pa.
However, Judge Brann found that the Complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a claim that, but for this tractor-trailer’s alleged negligent collision with another tractor-trailer, the plaintiff would not have traveled into the left lane to avoid that collision, resulting in the subsequent collision with her vehicle by the other defendants.  

Given that the court felt that the plaintiff had pled sufficient facts both on factual and proximate causation issues, this Motion to Dismiss was denied. 

The Memorandum Opinion issued by Judge Brann can be viewed at this LINK.  The Court's companion Order can be viewed HERE.

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