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a mystery 4 u: did alcohol cause the wreck?

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  • Jurydoctor@aol.com
    $20?donation to head start?for your opinion in this bizzare case. thanks, Amy ? What do you think of this case? What s the true story here? Where is the
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 14, 2009
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      $20?donation to head start?for your opinion in this bizzare case.

      thanks,

      Amy

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      What do you think of this case? What's the true story here? Where is the justice? what is justice in this case? How much would you award if anything?





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      On September 2, 2006, defendant, James (white male, 62 years, 215 lbs) arose at his home at 9:00 a.m.? He ate a breakfast sandwich and left to play golf at 10:30, a 1/2 mile from his home.??James is unable to recall who he played with.??He always eats peanuts or a candy bar?on the golf course.? He returned to his home at 6:30 p.m.? He was met at the door by his girlfriend, who gave him a 16-20 oz glass of wine.? He began drinking the wine and getting the grill ready for a steak dinner.? At approximately 7:00-7:10 p.m., after?drinking more than?half of the glass of?wine, he left his home on Edgewood Dr. and drove to a mini-mart on Stadium Drive, approximately 2.0 miles from his home, to get some?cat food. He picked up the cat food and began his drive back to his home at approximately 7:30.?

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      ?He drove west on Stadium Drive and has no recollection of anyone driving behind him.? At approximately 125 yards from Stadium's intersection with Edgewood, Defendant reduced his speed to approximately 25 mph to prepare for his turn.? At about 100 yards from Stadium's intersection with Edgewood, (where he was going to turn left), he witnessed the Plaintiff's vehicle?pull off to the side of the road,( all four tires), and, James says,?"complete?a?very quick u-turn on the same side of the road, and instead of stopping pulled right out in front of?me, it was almost instantaneous."?

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      The front end of Defendant's vehicle struck the driver's side door of Plaintiff's (Sheri)?vehicle.?

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      On September 2, 2006, at approximately 7:20 p.m., plaintiff, Sheri (black female, 58), and her 10 year old grand-daughter left? home and drove 1/4 of a mile to Stadium Drive.? The pair were on their way to Wal-Mart to do some school shopping for her granddaughter.? Sheri turned right onto westbound Stadium Drive and?toward its intersection with Edgewood Dr.??She suddenly realized that she forgot her purse.? Approximately 150 yards from the light at Stadium and Edgewood,?Sheri pulled over to the right side of Stadium Drive.? She then backed up, (3-point turn style), then pulled back?perpendicular to the edge of the roadway.? She looked to the right, then to the left, then at her granddaughter, then pulled out to go back east on Stadium Drive.??Her driver's side door was in the middle of the westbound lane at the moment of impact.?

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      Sheri?was rendered unconscious as a result of the impact.? She was transported by ambulance to the local ER, but then sent on to the nearest Trauma Center, 45 minutes away due to a hemorrhage in her brain.? She was hospitalized in ICU for 2 days, and spent another three days on?a regular floor.? She did experience pain and symptoms for the next several weeks, but made a full recovery.? Her medical expenses totaled $10,444.86.?

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      PLAINTIFF'S CONTENTIONS:

      Plaintiff claims that Defendant was intoxicated at the time of the accident, that his ability to drive was impaired, and that his impairment was a proximate cause of the collision, specifically that but for his impairment,?he had sufficient time to avoid the collision.? Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages in an amount in excess of $40,000 and?punitive damages in an amount in excess of $40,000.?

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      Evidence to support Plaintiff's contentions includes:

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      Ms J?:? Eyewitness to the crash.? Ms. J was on her way to a cookout just off Stadium Drive, when she noticed Defendant's vehicle exit the mini-mart.? Defendant was two cars behind Ms. J.? She next saw Defendant when he passed (in a no passing zone) the car in between them and pulled in behind her.?? Defendant then passed Ms. J, again in a no passing zone.? Ms. J estimates Defendant's speed at 55 mph, and her own speed at 50, all of this in a 45 mph zone.? Ms. J then saw the Plaintiff's vehicle on the right side of Stadium Drive, perpendicular to the roadway.? She then saw the Plaintiff pull forward and onto Stadium Drive, which took "just a few seconds."? She then saw Defendant crash into?Plaintiff's driver's side door.? She did not see Defendant's brake lights come on.? She did not see Defendant make any maneuvers,?neither left or right, to avoid the crash.? She did not hear the Defendant blow his horn.? Based upon her observations, it was her belief that the Defendant could have avoided the collision, but made no attempt to do so.? She stopped and saw Mrs. Dillard's granddaughter screaming hysterically because her grandmother was unconscious.? She then observed the Defendant, smelled a strong odor of alcohol, noticed bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and unsteady walking.?

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      Officer? Jones investigated the accident.? He arrived at the scene, noted the strong odor of alcohol?from Defendant, and requested that he undergo an Alco-sensor, which indicated breath alcohol of .13 twenty-three minutes after the crash.? Defendant stated that he was not hurt in the accident, that he last ate at 9:00 a.m., began drinking at 4:00 p.m. and stopped drinking at 6:00 p.m. and during that time had only two glasses of wine.? The Defendant was placed under arrest for DWI.? Defendant then contacted his girlfriend so she could come over and take care of his vehicle and, upon her arrival,?she was?arrested for DWI, registering a .17 on the Alco-sensor.? Defendant reported that he was fine and could stand normally, but upon observation at the police station, he was swaying and was unable to complete the sobriety tests.? His blood alcohol was measured 1 hour and?20 minutes after the impact and registered at .12.? Defendant subsequently plead guilty to DWI, first offense, lost his license and paid a fine.?

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      Mr. G, a toxicologist, reviewed the file on behalf of the Plaintiff.? He noted Defendant's conflicting stories and determined that it was physically impossible for either of Defendant's story to be true.? Specifically, through retrograde extrapolation, Mr. G will opine that Defendant's blood alcohol level at the time of the crash was .14.? This equates to 10-11 twelve ounce beers or 1 and 1/2 bottles of wine.? Mr. G will opine that at the time of the occurrence, Defendant had impaired perception, memory and comprehension;? decreased sensory response; increased reaction time; reduced visual acuity, peripheral vision and glare recovery; sensory motor incoordination; and impaired balance and drowsiness.? Mr. G will also provide statistics demonstrating what a problem drunken driving is in Southern State of Dixie, and that in 2006 alone, 60,000 people were arrested across the State for DWI, 12,600 of them with BACs of .12 or higher.?

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      Sheri's treating neurosurgeon and family doctor will testify regarding her brain hemorrhage and spike in blood sugars.? Both will opine that these conditions were a direct result of?the collision and necessitated the 5 day hospital stay.?

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      In responses to requests to admit, Defendant?denied that he was intoxicated nor impaired at the time of the occurrence.? This, despite pleading guilty to DWI in the criminal trial.?

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      DEFENDANT'S CONTENTIONS:

      Defendant initially contended that Plaintiff was contributorily negligent.??In response, Plaintiff alleged that Defendant had the last clear chance to avoid the collision and was grossly negligent.? Defendant then alleged that Plaintiff was grossly contributorily negligent.? Defendant then strategically?withdrew his defenses.? Thus, Defendant's sole contention is that there was nothing he could have done to avoid the collision, in other words, he was not negligent.??Simply that the proximate cause of the collision was the Plaintiff because she failed to see him before re-entering the roadway.?

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      Regarding the eye witness, Defendant will introduce evidence that?the eye witness?is currently on probation for felony identity theft stemming from a 2005 conviction.??The eyewitness, is not impartial since?knows the Plaintiff's daughter and?other members of?her family, but not the Plaintiff herself.? That Ms. J was only one car length behind the Defendant when the impact occurred and that she had to slam on her brakes to avoid hitting anyone.?

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      Regarding the Plaintiff, Defendant will establish that Plaintiff did not see the Defendant at any time prior to the impact.? Further, that Plaintiff had other locations where she could have turned around and to do so where she did was not safe.? Regarding her injuries, that Plaintiff had a long history of diabetes and that three days of her stay in the hospital was for that condition and not related to the accident.?

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      Defendant will assert that he has paid his debt to society.? He cooperated with the police officer at the scene,?underwent counseling as part of his guilty plea; completed 40 hours of community service, and paid a fine.? Further that his driving privileges were restricted for one year.? Defendant will assert that this was the first offense and that it has not occurred since.? He has paid his debt to society and any punitive damage award is double punishment.

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