Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of Mississippi decided a case that was brought by a family who was involved in a serious car accident that they attributed to the negligence of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). In the case, Logan v. MDOT, the Supreme Court of Mississippi determined that the plaintiffs should have been able to submit an affidavit of a family member who talked to several MDOT employees after the accident and was told that they had received complaints of the dangerous condition earlier that day.
According to court documents, the family was driving over a bridge that had recently undergone some asphalt repair work. MDOT, the organization responsible for the repairs, placed several thick metal planks over the asphalt as it cured. However, according to the plaintiffs, some of the planks were laying on top of one another in a way that made them stick up, creating a danger to passing motorists.
Indeed, as the plaintiffs’ car traveled across the bridge and over the planks, it got caught and spun out, injuring several family members inside. The family filed suit against MDOT, claiming that its failure to maintain the road was negligent. The family also claimed that MDOT’s failure to warn passing motorists of the dangerous condition was negligent.
At Trial and On Appeal
The case proceeded to trial on the two separate issues mentioned above. The trial judge determined that MDOT had official immunity with regard to both claims, since maintaining the road was a discretionary function. He then summarily dismissed the lawsuit.
On appeal, the intermediate appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part. The intermediate court held that the lower court was correct in its analysis of the failure-to-warn claim. However, the appellate court noted that the lower court was incorrect to hold that MDOT enjoyed official immunity in the failure-to-maintain claim. The court noted that maintaining roads is a ministerial function, and therefore immunity does not attach. Both MDOT and the plaintiffs appealed to the Supreme Court of Mississippi.
In the final appeal, the Supreme Court of Mississippi determined that MDOT was not entitled to immunity on either claim and that material issues of fact exist regarding both. The court then remanded the case back to the lower court for that court to conduct a more complete analysis using the higher court’s opinion as guidance.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Accident?
If you or a loved one has recently been involved in any kind of Maryland car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation based on another party’s negligence. While this claim arose in Mississippi, the laws governing negligence as well as official immunity are similar in Maryland. To learn more about Maryland personal injury cases, and to speak with a dedicated personal injury advocate about your case, call 410-654-3600 today to set up your free consultation. Calling is free and will not result in any obligation on your part.
More Blog Posts:
Federal Appellate Court Discusses Presumption of Negligence in Rear-End Accident Cases, Maryland Accident Law Blog, July 22, 2015.
Federal Appellate Court Reverses Lower Court’s Evidentiary Ruling, Allowing Plaintiff’s Expert Witness’ Testimony, Maryland Accident Law Blog, August 10, 2015.