Summary Disposition Granted on Serious Impairment in Trucking Case

Summary Disposition Granted on Serious Impairment in Trucking Case

Attorneys Joel Ashton and Stanley Okoli recently had a third party automobile negligence action dismissed on summary disposition pursuant to MCR 2.116(C)(10) based on the finding that the plaintiff’s alleged impairment had not affected her general ability to lead her normal life.

The subject accident involved a significant sideswipe accident by the defendant semi-truck.  The Motion was filed after the conclusion of discovery.  Prior to the filing of the Motion, the plaintiff’s last demand was $150,000.

In this case, the 45-year-old plaintiff was a nurse who claimed aggravation of neck and back injuries from a prior accident, including an annular tear in her lumbar spine, as well as new post-traumatic headaches, which were confirmed by the defendant’s expert neurologist.  The defense argued that the plaintiff could not establish a serious impairment as a matter of law because she continued to work approximately 100 hours per week after the subject accident for three different employers.  The plaintiff responded that her passion in life was being a nurse and that, although she worked many hours, she was working less hours and there were various specific duties she could no longer perform.  Emphasizing the subjective nature of the standard, the plaintiff argued that she previously enjoyed working in a busy emergency room but now must have pillows on her desk chair and could not perform various tests and duties.  The defense relied on case law supporting that merely any effect on a plaintiff’s life is insufficient to support a serious impairment and that this plaintiff continued to work as a nurse, for multiple employers, with extensive hours.

The Court agreed that the plaintiff could not establish an impairment affecting her general ability to lead her normal life as required by the Michigan Supreme Court in McCormick v. Carrier, 487 Mich 180 (2010), and granted summary disposition in favor of the defendant truck driver and trucking company.

Joel Ashton is a partner in the Livonia office of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, PLC where he focuses his practice on insurance defense, including Michigan No-Fault claims (PIP, automobile negligence, uninsured/ underinsured motorist), as well as premises liability and general negligence. His practice also includes the defense of contract and liability claims, contract interpretation issues, subrogation claims involving automobile, fire and casualty, commercial and related coverage. Mr. Ashton maintains an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest possible rating an attorney can achieve for both ethical standards and legal ability. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or jashton@cmda-law.com.

Stanley I. Okoli is an attorney in in the Livonia office of Cummings, McClorey, Davis & Acho, PLC where he focuses his practice on research and writing, as well as litigation. He writes briefs for submission to all levels of state and federal courts, argues cases in both the state and federal courts of appeals, and performs research for all areas of law handled by our Firm. Mr. Okoli has taken over 30 cases to Michigan Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and has handled 14 jury trials. He may be reached at (734) 261-2400 or sokoli@cmda-law.com

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