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Rodriguez v. United States Steel Corp.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 31, 2014

ALFREDO D. RODRIGUEZ, as Permanent Guardian of the Person and Estate of Miriam Rodriguez, and Alfredo D. Rodriguez, Individually, Appellants-Plaintiffs,
v.
UNITED STATES STEEL CORPORATION, Appellee-Defendant

APPEAL FROM THE LAKE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Calvin D. Hawkins, Judge. Cause No. 45D02-1105-CT-55.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS: THOMAS A. CLEMENTS, Law Office of Thomas A. Clements, Merrillville, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: TERENCE M. AUSTGEN, ELIZABETH M. BEZAK, Burke Costanza & Carberry LLP, Merrillville, Indiana.

NAJAM, Judge. MATHIAS, J., and BRADFORD, J., concur.

Page 475

OPINION

NAJAM, Judge

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Alfredo Rodriguez, individually and as permanent guardian of the person and estate of Miriam Rodriguez, appeals the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of United States Steel Corporation (" U.S. Steel" ) on Alfredo's negligence claim. Alfredo presents three issues for our review, but we address only one dispositive issue, namely, whether the trial court erred when it concluded that U.S. Steel did not owe a duty to Miriam.

We affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

At approximately 6:10 a.m. on January 21, 2011, Dana Faught, a longtime U.S. Steel employee,[1] drove his personal vehicle eastbound on Central Avenue in Gary, Indiana, when he crossed the center line and collided head on with Miriam, who traveled westbound. Faught has no memory of the collision and assumes that he fell asleep just before impact. Miriam sustained severe, permanent injuries.

When the collision occurred, Faught was traveling home from a shift at U.S. Steel, where he had worked as a labor team leader in the eighty-four-inch mill. Although Faught was actually scheduled to work eight-hour day shifts at U.S. Steel, his supervisor, Dave Best, allowed Faught to make his own hours. Before his collision with Miriam, Faught had worked an

Page 476

approximately eleven-hour shift, which began at 7:04 p.m. on January 20 and ended at 5:51 a.m. on January 21.[2] These hours were typical for Faught, as he had worked similar hours, five to six days per week, for about three ...


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