Judge rules text sender not liable in crash that cost two victims a leg each

Judge rules text sender not liable in crash that cost two victims a leg each
A judge in New Jersey state Superior Court in Morris County found that a New Jersey woman who had sent a text to her boyfriend was not liable for the subsequent crash that occurred when her boyfriend crashed his car into a motorcycle while reading her text message. The accident claimed one leg from each of the two riders on the bike. 38 states have a ban on texting while driving, but the legal theory in this case was novel

Back on September 21st, 2009 David and Linda Kubert were riding their motorcycle in Mine Hill, N.J. when a Chevy truck driven by Kyle Best swerved over the center line and hit the Kuberts head-on. As the truck approached them, David Kuber noticed that the driver was, "steering with his elbows, with his head down. And I could tell he was text messaging." The message that Best was responding to while driving had been sent to him by his girlfriend, Shannon Colonna. In the accident, David Kubert had his left leg torn off above the knee, while Linda Kubert eventually had her left leg amputated. This has become too common as 24% of  vehicle crashes can be blamed on the use of a mobile handset while driving, according to government statistics.

Kyle plead guilty to three motor vehicle violations, including using a handheld device while driving. The Kuberts were suing him in civil court and for the first time in legal history, the Kubert's attorney also sued Ms. Colonna for sending Mr. Best the text messages. The theory is that her texts distracted him and according to Skippy Weinstein, the Kubert's attorney, Ms. Colonna.should have known her boyfriend was driving home when she sent the texts. She admitted that she "may have known" he was driving at the time she sent the text messages. That day, the pair sent each other 62 messages.

The judge disagreed with the Kuberts and found Shannon Colonna not liable (since it was a civil case, the defendant is found either liable or not liable). Attorney Weinstein said that he found it interesting that during her deposition, Colonna said about texting while driving, "This is what teenagers do." He had argued that she was "electronically present," at the scene of the accident. The Judge thought otherwise. The question now is how much of a precedent this ruling will become and we will see if other attorneys sue the actual text sender in other civil cases as a result of this suit.

source: KKTV via Textually.org



30. crysiswarmonger

Posts: 82; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

I would sue the motorcyclists. Why? If they were driving safer vehicle, they would not have been hurt so badly.

34. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Might as well say this....if they wanna try to blame the person who sent the text....lol.

29. BattleBrat

Posts: 1476; Member since: Oct 26, 2011

This is why everyone needs one of those pebble watches, you can just look at your wrist to read incoming texts, on an Android phone ha ha ha ha ha! (iphones according to the pebble folk, doesn't give up that information.)

25. tedkord

Posts: 17529; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I sympathize with the people who were hit, and lost a leg. That's terrible, and I hope they find some peace. That said, how can you blame the person who sent the text? The person who read it, absolutely, but the sender? That's just silly in the extreme, and the lawyer who pushed this suit should be fined heavily, and maybe disbarred. Start punishing lawyers for frivolous cases, and watch them dry up. It's nice to see common sense prevail in a court case (not for the first time the past week or so)

28. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Interesting idea. It would mean apple would have to get a new team of lawyers after each lawsuit and pay fines for wasting the courts' time and effort

33. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

Yea the lawyer who came up with this idea. ....makes lawyers look bad.

23. novasians

Posts: 11; Member since: May 26, 2012

If you take your eyes off the road to respond to a text message, or put on your make up, or look at a hottie on the side of the road, you would be liable for any accidents caused by you. End of discussion. There will always be all sorts of distraction when it comes to driving and staying focus behind the wheel.

19. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Kyle is guilty, but his girlfriend is not - she was not at the accident and the bf could have waited to read the message....

18. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Or Kill him not, wait for me

17. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Wait for me, not kill him

16. parkwaydr

Posts: 572; Member since: Sep 07, 2011

It's good the judge ruled that way, this was just another case of people not taking responsibility for themselves.

14. tward291

Posts: 559; Member since: Feb 14, 2012

If American cars were manual instead of auto this would not be a problem

22. iami67

Posts: 334; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

You are wrong I garuntee more people would be in accidents cause on top of everything there doing now they be shifting as well.. DUH

24. theBankRobber

Posts: 682; Member since: Sep 22, 2011

Um we do have manual cars , when you buy a car, you have the option for auto or manual. Its your pick but most people do prefer auto over manual .

27. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Besides, there is less inventive for non-enthusiasts to purchase a manual transmission (sadly IMHO) because automatics are providing better mileage, thanks to better and more gears and ratios (and CVTs) and "manu-matic" transmissions, which let the driver shift if they want, but don't have to.

10. skymitch89

Posts: 1453; Member since: Nov 05, 2010

I agree with the judged that Kyle Best is the sole person responsible for the incident and that Shannon Colonna has no responsibly. Yes, it is Shannon Colonna's fault that Kyle Best was texting, but he had the choice of to read and respond to her texts or not. When I get texts while driving, I wait until I'm stopped at a red light to read/respond or I pull off to the side of the road. I find texting while driving fairly challenging, considering I've only been driving for about 8 months and have a 5 speed.

13. DigitalBoy05

Posts: 280; Member since: Jun 04, 2011

Shannon is not at any fault whatsoever. It's bad timing on her part but its Kyle's fault because KYLE was texting. People need to grow a pair and take responsibility for their actions for better or worse. The legal system does not exist to play the blame game.

26. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

The nice thing about a text is that it is viewable at a later time, whereas a phone call is live and takes much more concentration, rather than recognizing that one has a text and making a mental note to check it when it is safe to do so. The Mythbusters episode about distracted vs. drunk driving was a good illustration of this.

6. dragonscourgex

Posts: 307; Member since: Jan 16, 2012

Good call judge. I would have to disagree with you Aj. A person has free will to choose to eat at McDonald or go gamble. People that make these excuses that they are addicting and such just do not want to admit fault and the lawyer are looking to increase their bank accounts

5. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

How the heck you send a text while on your bike?

9. twenti7

Posts: 152; Member since: Jul 09, 2011

How the heck you comment on an article without reading it?

11. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Because it flew completely over his head.

12. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Go Go Gadget comprehension. The article mentioned nothing about texting on the motorocycle.

3. good2great

Posts: 1042; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

That's horrible what happened to those people...

2. metoyou

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

I agree with the judge this time. just like how can casino responsible for gambler? or mcD responsible for "over sized" people Sender didn't ask him to read and response her text message when he's driving. He can by stop his vehicle and do whatever he wanna do but not road. common sense no?

4. ajac09

Posts: 1482; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I do agree with the judge but your examples: MC donalds and fast food is addicting believe it or not. Like a drug and in some circles some law makers think they are liable. They have the right to choose to go there and all but if its addicing its addicing and most people start the addiction as children Casions the same way. Feeding on personal issues. There are ALOT of people wtih gambling problems on this planet and casion's feed off it. are they liable? depends on how they push it. The casion's around here all the time have specials and concerts and other stuff to draw people in. Now the texting. Sender should have 0 liability. What if the sender happened to be AT&T or his carirer alerting someone though? would the judge think other wise because they are big business? makes you think dont it?

7. metoyou

Posts: 279; Member since: Oct 19, 2011

No one ask you to eat McD, no one stick gun at you to force you to play at the Casino, Knowing they are addicting and you still play or eat McD (in your case) is pure stupid case closed!

8. Firedrops

Posts: 254; Member since: Sep 06, 2011

No one forced you to take grammar lessons, but you should start soon.

15. parkwaydr

Posts: 572; Member since: Sep 07, 2011

People like you are what's wrong with todays society, you want to blame everyone else and no one wants to take responsibility for thier actions. Fast food is not addicting, its a cater to the majorities pure laziness. Every just wants to take the easy route, and then they blame fast food when they wake up weighing 300+ pounds, people are not forced to gamble, they gamble because they are not financially responsible. I'm tired of hearing all this " its a disease" non sense that floats around now a days.

21. cepcamba

Posts: 717; Member since: Feb 27, 2012

Well, actually, I wanna blame nuttela for making me an addict. D@mn I always have it on my grocery lists. Nuttela what did you do to me! I'm suing you!

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