Earlier this month, a federal appellate court issued an opinion in a truck accident case that presents an important point for potential Maryland truck accident plaintiffs. The case focused on whether the lower court was proper in granting summary judgment to the defendant after striking the plaintiff’s statement of facts. The appellate court concluded that the lower court did not abuse its discretion in precluding the plaintiff’s statement and granting summary judgment in favor of the defendant because the plaintiff disclosed the substance of his expert’s testimony four months after it was due.
The Facts of the Case
The plaintiff was involved in an accident when the defendant truck driver rear-ended the plaintiff while he was driving on the highway. After the initial collision, the plaintiff lost control of his vehicle, and the car spun out into the median.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant truck driver as well as his employer. The defendant responded to the allegations by claiming that it was the plaintiff who first struck his vehicle and that the plaintiff was the negligent driver.
Both parties filed motions for summary judgment. The presiding judge referred all pre-trial motions to a magistrate judge, who, after reviewing the pleadings, recommended that the trial judge strike the plaintiff’s statement of facts because it did not comply with the local court rules. Specifically, the plaintiff disclosed the names of his expert witnesses, the testimony of whom was included in the statement of facts, four months after the deadline to do so.
The trial judge adopted the magistrate’s recommendations and then dismissed the plaintiff’s case because there was no conflicting evidence remaining. The plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision to a higher court.
On appeal, the court affirmed the decision below. The appellate court explained that a trial court has broad discretion to strike a party’s late filing. The trial judge can rely on several factors in making the determination, including whether there was a reason for the lateness, whether the other side was prejudiced at all, and the importance of the evidence. After weighing the factors, the appellate court concluded that the trial court was acting within its authority when it struck the plaintiff’s statement and entered summary judgment in favor of the defendant.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Maryland truck accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. Maryland truck accidents can present complex legal and factual scenarios, and these cases are best handled by attorneys who are experienced in truck accident law. The dedicated team of truck accident attorneys at the Maryland personal injury law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers offers free consultations to victims to help them understand their rights. Call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Lebowitz & Mzhen today.
More Blog Posts:
Driver Charged in Fatal 2016 Rear-End Truck Accident, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published October 25, 2017.
Truck Accidents Caused by Drivers’ Medical Emergencies, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published November 10, 2017.