Member Mike Parks recently obtained a zero verdict on behalf of Dot Transportation, Inc. and Travelers Property Casualty Company of America in a personal injury lawsuit that was tried before Judge Christopher Bruno in the Civil District Court for the Parish of Orleans on September 11, 2020.
Brandon R. Singleton et al v. Tommy D. Rice et al Background
Plaintiffs Brandon R. Singleton (driver), Anthony Singleton and Nadia Weaver claimed personal injury from the auto accident, which occurred on April 10, 2018 on I-10 West in New Orleans East.
Tommy Rice was operating the Dot Transportation tractor-trailer. He proceeded down the I-510 ramp to merge onto I-10 and at the same time, Plaintiff Brandon Singleton was driving his 2015 Dodge Charger on the I-510 ramp immediately behind the Dot Transportation tractor-trailer. At that location, there are three westbound lanes of I-10, plus the “get-on” or merge lane, which both vehicles were using. Mr. Rice saw no vehicles behind him in the right lane of the I-10. Once he reached the end of the solid white line separating the “get-on” and right travel lanes, he began to merge to his left into the right lane of I-10.
The Dot Transportation tractor-trailer forward-facing dashboard video camera showed Mr. Rice maneuvering into the right lane of travel. Mike also had a videographer create a zoomed/close up video of the 18-wheeler’s left hood mirror, which showed the Dodge Charger move from behind the tractor-trailer after Mr. Rice was already making the lane change. The dash cam video and Mr. Rice’s testimony established that the tractor-trailer was more than 50% into the right lane of travel when the “accident” happened, with the right side of the Dodge Charger contacting the left rear of the Dot Transportation tractor-trailer.
The Court’s Ruling
The court agreed with Mike’s arguments that it was safe for Mr. Rice to begin his lane change with the Dodge Charger immediately behind him in the “get-on” lane, that the tractor-trailer had almost completed the lane change when the accident happened, and that Brandon Singleton had to cross over the solid white line to put his Dodge Charger into position straddling the center and right lanes of travel just before the contact. The court found that Brandon Singleton’s testimony about his driving was “incredible” and that he was the sole cause of the accident.
Brandon R. Singleton, Anthony Singleton, and Nadia Weaver v. Tommy D. Rice, DOT Holdings Company and Travelers Property and Casualty Insurance Company, CDC #19-3926, Div. F-7
Note: The delays for post-trial relief have not yet run.