Matthew Fiorello defended a case in Palm Beach County where the Defendant claimed he had right of way in T-bone collision. Plaintiff was a passenger in a vehicle driven by her grandson. The grandson attempted to make a left turn onto the Florida Turnpike. The passenger side of the vehicle was then hit by defendant’s vehicle.
Defendant was in the scope of his employment. Plaintiff suffered an injury to an ankle. The intersection had a malfunctioning traffic signal. Plaintiff’s grandson thus had a blinking red light at the time of the crash, while Defendant had a blinking yellow light. Plaintiff claimed Defendant was negligent in the operation of his vehicle, and that his employer was negligent and vicariously liable for Defendant’s actions.
Plaintiff claimed that vehicles in all three westbound lanes had stopped at the intersection, and that Defendant should have done the same. Plaintiff called an expert accident reconstructionist who opined that Defendant should have stopped at the intersection. The expert thus concluded that Defendant did not enter the intersection cautiously. Defense counsel argued that Defendant had the right of way in the intersection and thus had no obligation to stop for traffic. The defense also insisted that Defendant was proceeding with caution, and that the driver of Plaintiff’s vehicle should have made sure he had a clear path of travel before attempting the turn. The defense also called an expert engineer who claimed there was no way Defendant could have avoided the collision.
The trial was bifurcated. Damages were not before the court. The jury issued a defense verdict on liability. It found that Defendant was not negligent.
The jury deliberated for 30 minutes and returned a verdict of no negligence on the part of the defendant.