Brandon Kroft and Heather Gilbert Prevail Before the Seventh Circuit on Dismissal of Wrongful Death Action

June 3, 2016

Cassiday Schade attorneys Brandon Kroft and Heather Gilbert successfully argued before the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit that their award of summary judgment be affirmed.

The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against a utilities contractor and its employee related to a motor vehicle crash in Gary, Indiana. Cassiday Schade represented the defendants. The decedent’s car struck the right corner of the metal bumper affixed to the utility truck, lost control, and crashed into a pole across the intersection. The decedent’s vehicle suffered major damage and the driver was killed. The plaintiff filed suit in the Northern District of Indiana, alleging that the accident was caused by the negligence of the utility truck driver and that the bumper of the utility truck was unreasonably dangerous.

The defendants moved for summary judgment. The District Court granted summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiff failed to present evidence that any of the defendant's alleged negligent conduct was a proximate cause of the accident and held that no reasonable juror could find for Plaintiff. Plaintiff appealed to the 7th Circuit.

The award of summary judgment was affirmed on appeal. The panel, comprised of Judges Posner, Easterbrook, and Hamilton, unanimously held that there was no evidence that the actions of the truck driver caused the accident. They further held that the plaintiff failed to come forward with evidence that the company was negligent in its choice of bumper or that a different bumper would have prevented the death of the decedent.  

Click here to read the opinion in full.

The above summary is specific to a particular case and is not intended as a projected outcome on any other matter.