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Michael F. Schmidt Obtains Summary Disposition In Auto/Pedestrian Accident

Janet Thurman v Pies, Inc. d/b/a Domino’s Pizza, Washtenaw County Circuit Court, claim by plaintiff, Janet Thurman, for alleged multiple serious injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident in which she was struck by Pies, Inc.’s pizza delivery driver’s vehicle while standing in the middle of and attempting to cross Ann Arbor/Saline Road. Discovery included depositions of all of the parties plus multiple investigating officers from the Ann Arbor Police Department and the plaintiff’s liability expert, Frederick Greive. After discovery we filed a motion for summary disposition on the basis that the plaintiff had no proof of any negligence on the part of the defendant pizza driver and that the plaintiff’s claim was barred by MCL 500.3135 because the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault in causing the accident. The plaintiff’s theories were that the defendant was speeding, that he entered the left turn lane too soon, that the plaintiff was plainly visible as she was standing in the left turn lane and that the brakes on the defendant’s vehicle were improperly maintained. We argued that based upon the Ann Arbor Police investigation, the depositions of the Ann Arbor investigating officers, and the deposition of the plaintiff’s expert, that the accident occurred ninety minutes after sunset, the plaintiff was wearing all dark clothing, she was standing in the travel/turn lane of Ann Arbor/Saline Road facing to the south with her back to southbound traffic, that she failed to use an available crosswalk which was well lit and controlled by a traffic signal and pedestrian control devices, that the defendant was operating his vehicle at or below the speed limit, that the plaintiff admitted that she was standing in the road where cars could legally drive and she was aware that it was against the law for her to be crossing where she was crossing, that the plaintiff was in violation of MCL 257.676b by interfering with the normal flow of vehicular traffic and also in violation of Ann Arbor’s ordinance requiring pedestrians to cross roadways at marked crosswalks and there was no evidence that the defendant could have seen the plaintiff in time to avoid impact. After reviewing the briefs filed by the parties and hearing oral argument, the trial court granted summary disposition on the basis that the plaintiff was more than 50% at fault and there was no evidence of any negligence on the part of the defendant.