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ARTICLE ID 147215

DEFENDANTS' Utility company's work allegedly leaves extensive mud and dirt on residential roadway causing alleged dangerous condition - Plaintiff motorcyclist loses control, separates from vehicle and skids ________-________ feet before crashing into parked vehicle - Severe degloving injury to abdomen, buttocks, and left leg - Permanent colostomy bag - Multiple fractures with hardware - Inability to work.

Monmouth County

The plaintiff motorcyclist, 33 at trial, contended that an unquantifiable amount of sand was in the roadway as he was rounding a curve. The plaintiff contended that as a result, he lost control and slid into a parked car. The license plate from this parked car caused severe laceration and contributed to a degloving injury that ran from the abdomen, across the buttocks and down to the back of the left knee. The plaintiff also sustained fractures to both legs, requiring hardware, and underwent extensive debridement procedures and skin grafts to close the wounds.

The plaintiff contended that several days earlier, the defendant utility company had traversed a dirt access road to reach power lines on which it was working. The plaintiff contended that the power company’s trucks left mud and dirt on the paved roadway adjacent to the access road, which plaintiff contended led to his losing control of his motorcycle. The plaintiff maintained that the failure of the municipality to note the hazard and clean it constituted palpably unreasonable conduct.

The defendants denied that the power company’s work resulted in the condition complained of and contended that the plaintiff’s excessive speed was the cause of his accident. During trial, both an EMT who lived in the immediate vicinity and a power company employee testified that the work was done several weeks, or more, earlier. The investigating officer and numerous neighbors also testified that any sand present on the date of accident was along the edge and not in the travel portion of the roadway.

As to speed, the plaintiff’s expert concluded that plaintiff was traveling between 50-55 on a curve with a speed advisory of 35 mph. The defense expert placed plaintiff’s speed at approximately 65 mph. The investigating officer testified that the chief EMT at the scene was advised by plaintiff that he was traveling between 70-80 mph, consistent with plaintiff’s testimony at trial that he had previously taken the subject turn at 70 mph on multiple occasions.

The jury found for the defendants.

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