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Smith v. Triple B Trucking, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Evansville Division

July 16, 2018

MICHAEL J. SMITH, et al. Plaintiffs,
v.
TRIPLE B TRUCKING, LLC, et al. Defendants.

          FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          MATTHEW P. BROOKMAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter, an action brought by Plaintiffs against Peterson and Triple B. Trucking, LLC, alleging negligence, negligence per se and loss of consortium, was called for a bench trial on July 9, 2018. (Docket No. 86). Plaintiffs Michael J. Smith and Marcia Smith appeared in person and by Counsel Stephen H. Thomas and Noah C. Thomas. Defendants Triple B Trucking, LLC and Gregory Peterson appeared by Counsel Jessica N. Hamilton and James H. Milstone.[1]For purposes of trial, the parties filed an agreed stipulation of facts.[2] (Docket No. 85). Being duly advised, the court now enters its Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law pursuant to Rule 52(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         1. On August 13, 2015, Michael Smith, Gregory Peterson, and six (6) other drivers were involved in a motor vehicle collision on U.S. Highway 41 in Gibson County, Indiana.

         2. The Collision occurred at or near the intersection of County Road 800 S and U.S. Highway 41 S in Gibson County, Indiana (the “Intersection”).

         3. At or near the Intersection, U.S. Highway 41 S has two (2) southbound straight lanes and one (1) right turn lane and one (1) left turn lane.

         4. Immediately prior to the Collision, Michael Smith's Jeep Wrangler was stopped in the right straight lane in a line of vehicles yielding to the red light.

         5. Immediately prior to the Collision, Gregory Peterson's semi tractor-trailer was travelling southbound towards the line of vehicles yielding to the red light.

         6. While approaching the line of vehicles yielding to the red light, Gregory Peterson's cell phone fell in between the brake pedal and gas pedal.

         7. While approaching the line of vehicles yielding to the red light, Gregory Peterson looked down in an attempt to locate his cell phone.

         8. Gregory Peterson did not stop in time to avoid a collision with the line of vehicles yielding to the red light in the southbound lane of U.S. Highway 41 S.

         9. Gregory Peterson's semi tractor-trailer struck the rear of the vehicle immediately in front of him.

         10. Gregory Peterson's striking of the vehicle in front of him caused that vehicle ...


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