Many obstacles arise in a negligence lawsuit, and defendants will try to use all of them to prevent or minimize liability. Injured parties face evidentiary challenges if witnesses are hard to locate, or physical evidence is compromised. Procedural hurdles also exist, from the timing of the filing to the way in which pleadings are written. In a recent decision, the federal First Circuit Court of Appeal addressed a summary judgment granted in favor of the defendants, based on issues with the injured person’s statement of facts and submitted reports.
The plaintiff was injured in a vehicle collision in 2014. He filed suit against the driver of the tractor trailer and the company that owned the trailer and hired the driver. The injured person alleged the trailer caused a rear-end collision, causing him to lose control of his own vehicle and strike a median.
Upon review, the magistrate judge recommended granting the defendants’ motions to strike the plaintiff’s purported set of facts in his own motion and the opposition to the defendants’ motion. The injured man had included two expert reports attached as exhibits, which were also excluded. The grounds for this recommendation were based on the injured man’s failure to comply with Local Rule 56.1, which requires a filed opposition to motions for summary judgment to be a concise statement of material facts of record. The District Judge adopted the Magistrate Judge’s recommendations and report, entering summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The injured man appealed.