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Underage drinker cannot sue man who parked in road or vehicle that struck it

Joshua Thornsberry suffered serious injuries to his left leg when he was struck by a car that had run into another car parked partially in the road.  The parked car was driven by a 16 year-old who had been summoned by Thornsberry to drive him home from an under-aged drinking party.  He sued the guy who parked illegally in the road as well as the woman who struck that car, and ultimately settled his claim with the latter.  At trial, the jury concluded that the young driver who parked partially in the road was negligent, but that  his negligence wasn't "a" cause of the collision that injured Thornsberry.  Thornsberry appealed, arguing this result made no legal sense. His attorneys also argued that the fact of his own alcohol consumption was irrelevant and prejudicial.

Unfortunately for him, he drew an appellate panel that included Kirsten Kelly and Henry Saad.  They wouldn't reinstate a case for an injury victim against an insured if their lives depended on it.  They launched a contrived argument that suggested it wasn't reasonably foreseeable that a car parked partially in an unlit road could cause injury.  They concluded with this preposterous statement:  "even if defendant Peace was determined to be negligent for driving at a time he was not supposed to be driving, for not illuminating his lights, and/or for parking partially in the roadway, the jury could have found , consistent with the evidence, that such negligent conduct was not a cause in fact or legal cause of plaintiff's injuries."

The insurance-friendly judges also ruled that the trial judge's admission of irrelevant evidence of under-aged drinking was "harmless error."  It is pathetic the depths some activist judges will plumb in order to insulate their friends from financial responsibility.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
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