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Glover v Nowland

Motor Vehicle Litigation / July 7, 2023

Court/Case No: Macomb County Circuit Court I 22-2477-NF

Tried/Argued Before: Jury

Demand: 27,000,000

Verdict: No-Cause

Name of Judge(s): Hon. James Maceroni

Keys to the Case:

This wrongful death action arose out of a motor vehicle accident on June 8, 2020.  The accident occurred when Plaintiff’s decedent was speeding on his motorcycle on northbound Schoenherr and struck Defendant as she was making a left-hand turn into her subdivision.

The defense argued Defendant never saw Plaintiff’s decedent before beginning her turn, because, either the motorcycle headlight was off, or because the motorcycle was too far away to be appreciated as a hazard.  The defense argued excessive speed by Plaintiff’s decedent was the sole cause of the accident.

Plaintiff argued Plaintiff’s decedent was only traveling 75 mph; that Defendant saw Plaintiff’s decedent before turning; and, negligently tried to beat him across northbound lanes but was unsuccessful.  Plaintiff argued Plaintiff’s decedent had the right of way, and Defendant was the primary cause of the accident. Plaintiff asked the jury to return a verdict, in the amount of 27 million dollars, and to find Defendant was at least 80% at fault for the accident.

The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict, finding that Defendant was not negligent.  There were a few significant pieces of evidence the jury likely found most compelling in reaching its verdict.  The most significant evidence presented on liability was the testimony by Defendant’s Accident Reconstructionist, who walked the jury through the math, showing Plaintiff’s decent was in fact traveling around 120 mph at the time of impact.  Defendant’s Accident Reconstructionist explained that at 120 mph, Plaintiff’s decedent would have been about 704 feet from the area of impact (or about two and one-third football fields), when Defendant was deciding to turn into her subdivision.  Defendant’s Accident Reconstructionist testified that 704 feet is more than 550 feet greater than the distance an individual would have needed to comfortably execute her turn had Plaintiff’s decedent been traveling the 50-mph speed limit.  Ultimately, Defendant’s Accident Reconstructionist concluded the accident only happened because of Plaintiff’s decedent’s excessive speed, and would have occurred regardless of whether the headlight was on or off the night of the incident.

It’s also notable that Plaintiff’s Accident Reconstructionist did not hold up well on cross examination.  For example, Plaintiff’s Accident Reconstructionist admitted he never visited the accident site until the week before trial; he never inspected or took pictures of the motorcycle or motor vehicle; he never wrote a report; he never wrote down any calculations; and he could not contest the speed conclusions by the defense.  Notwithstanding these foundational deficiencies, he still claimed Defendant was negligent.  His testimony was less than credible.

Similarly, testimony by Plaintiff’s Forensic Pathologist was detrimental to Plaintiff’s case, as the defense’s cross examination demonstrated his opinions were flimsy and did not stand up against the credible testimony by Defendant’s Forensic Pathologist.

Finally, Defendant testimony was significant, because she confirmed she never saw the speeding motorcyclist before she turned. Undoubtedly, the jury found her credible and returned the no cause (or no negligence).

Defense SW attorney(s) Involved in Case:


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