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U.S. Dist., Eastern

The plaintiff contended that the defendant was traveling at an excessive rate of speed in view of rainy weather conditions and darkness, resulting in his striking the plaintiff as he traveled from a parking lot into the roadway. The plaintiff suffered severe brain damage which has confined him to a wheelchair, caused extensive spasticity, and has left him unable to communicate. The posted speed limit was 55 and the defendant contended that he was driving at about 45 mph. The plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert indicated that the speed defendant’s was 55 mph. The plaintiff contended that as a professional driver hauling a full load, the defendant should have been especially careful during rainy weather conditions and rush hour traffic. Several eyewitnesses provided estimates of speed which ranged from 45 to 55 mph. The eyewitnesses also testified for the defendant that the plaintiff traveled directly into the defendant’s path. The defendant’s accident reconstruction expert indicated that the defendant could not have stopped in time to avoid the accident. The defendant’s human factors expert contended that in view of the dark color of the plaintiff’s pick-up truck and the weather and lighting conditions, the defendant would have difficulty observing the plaintiff until he had entered the roadway. The plaintiff was present intermittently during the trial. The jury found that the defendant was not negligent. Maioriello vs. Russell Reid Waste Hauling and Disposal Co. Civil Action no. 86-________; Judge Robert S. Gawthrop, III, 8-23-88. Attorney for plaintiff: Thomas Rutter; Attorney for defendant: John P. Penders. Plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert: Bayard McWilliams from Yardley, Pa.

Defendant’s accident reconstruction expert: Robert Ehrlich from Teaneck, N.J. Defendant’s human factors expert: Alan Stewart from Glen Ridge, N.J.

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