Two car lengths. That’s all the distance our client had to react when another motorist entered the intersection in front of him, and it wasn’t enough; unable to stop in time, he struck the driver’s side of the other car, pushing it into a guardrail. The other driver then filed suit, alleging our client was negligent for failing to see her vehicle and yield the right of way though she already was in the intersection.
Tapped to represent the defendant and his insurer was James F. Faucher II, a member of our General Liability Practice Group. Much rode on the case, and Faucher knew it. Our client wanted to clear his name and was worried he might be found liable for the accident. The financial stakes were high; the plaintiff’s last demand was for the full value of the defendant’s insurance policy. But Faucher also knew there was a problem with the plaintiff’s case: that stop sign on her side of the intersection. Because of that sign, she didn’t have the right of way; our client did. There had been no stop sign on his side of the intersection.
The plaintiff made a premature motion for summary judgment that the court denied. Then we made a cross-motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff was solely responsible for the accident for not stopping and yielding the right-of-way to our client, we argued. The court agreed, ruling that the plaintiff had entered the intersection when doing so was unsafe and dismissing the claim against our client.