NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans driver Eric Brown obtained a partial summary judgment against another motorist through a motion that showed he did not effectively contribute to a car accident on Interstate 10.
U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, on the bench of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, granted the motion and issued a nine-page ruling on July 11 in the lawsuit initiated by Brown against defendants Zurich American Insurance Company and driver Bradley Ostrander.
Brown sued Ostrander and the insurance company on May 9, 2016 for personal injuries and damages against his vehicle. Over two years later, on June 22, 2018, the case was moved to summary judgment over liability.
Ostrander collided with Brown's vehicle on May 31, 2015 while trying to exit I-10 in New Orleans after switching lanes.
U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman United States Government, Wikimedia Commons
As stated in the ruling, "Ostrander changed from the center lane to the left lane." Following that action, Ostrander "collided with the vehicle in front of him, which belonged to Eric Brown," the court document said. Ostrander was cited by police, but no citations were issued to Brown.
In his ruling, Feldman cited Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, which says that "summary judgment is proper if the record discloses no genuine dispute as to any material fact such that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law," as well as there is no dispute of facts "if the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party."
The type of judgment is also proper if the opposing party fails to "establish an essential element of his case," the order said.
"The defendants’ extremely brief opposition cites testimony where Ostrander admits that Brown did not do anything wrong, but later states that he is not taking full responsibility for the accident. Ostrander’s contradictory testimony that, at best, indicates that he does not know if Brown changed lanes, let alone if he did so negligently, is not sufficient to create an issue of fact as to whether Brown contributed to the accident," Feldman said in the document.
The same document stated that "Ostrander failed to submit any competent evidence to rebut the presumption, and his own words, that he acted negligently."