Judge David Rand of New Jersey has decided not to charge Shannon Colonna, the woman who was being sued for texting a driver who then caused a serious accident, with any civil liability. The victims, David and Linda Kubert, were left amputees after Colonna engaged in a text message conversation with Kyle Best, the driver at fault. The driver’s willing action of texting and driving was the proximate cause of this horrific and tragic crash.
The two felt that Colonna had some knowledge that Best was driving and they strongly believed that this made her responsible for supporting and assisting in Best’s carelessness. According to the couple, Colonna was “virtually present.” This argument had it been successful would have opened a pandora’s box in regards to liability of third parties.
Since the allegations have never been brought up in a New Jersey court, Judge Rand had little to work with. Case law on the subject was minimal in others states as well. Rand made his ruling based on the fact that it is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to keep focused while driving on the road. He went into more detail explaining that “[I]t is unreasonable to impose a duty upon the defendant in this case under these facts. If I were to extend this duty, in my judgment, any form of distraction could potentially serve as a basis of a liability case.”
The judgment on this case is really not that shocking. Civil liability is imposed when a person promotes or considerably helps another breach a duty owed to the plaintiff. The defense must be fully aware that they are abetting or aiding in the breach. To claim that Shannon Colonna considerably helped or promoted David Best to operate his vehicle in a negligent manner is an exaggeration. Even if she was aware he was driving, Best willingly decided to reply to his text messages. If Judge Rand had decided to hold Colonna responsible, then just about anyone could be held accountable for texting a driver.
If you have been injured as a result of the negligence exhibited by a distracted driver, please contact us at (727) 451-6900 or email [email protected], for a free consultation. The attorneys at the Dolman law Group handle injury claims throughout the State of Florida and maintains an active statewide litigation practice.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA is a personal injury and civil trial law firm based in Clearwater, Florida. Located in central Pinellas County (ten minutes from St. Petersburg and fifteen minutes from Tampa), the injury law attorneys at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA represent only consumers and never will or have ever represented an insurance carrier. We routinely litigate injury law claims throughout the State of Florida and actively represent plaintiffs in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Manatee, Sarasota and Polk County. Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA serves the following cities; Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Largo, Pinellas Park, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Dunedin, Ozona, Tarpon Springs, Tampa, Carrolwood, New Tampa, Oldsmar, Trinity, New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Spring Hill, Bradenton and Sarasota.