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SPSR Success: Trucking Accident Dismissal Upheld on Appeal

M. Davis Ready and Megan S. Peterson recently garnered a win for a trucking client in motor vehicle accident case that happened when a tornado passed through the area and lifted and pushed a stationary tractor trailer into a neighboring vehicle. The Louisiana Fifth Circuit Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment dismissing the case against our clients, finding that the accident was not the fault of the defendant driver and instead was solely caused by a tornado, as an act of God or force majeure. The case,¬†Smith v. Great American Insurance Co. et al,¬†20-377 (La.App. 5 Cir. 5/26/21), — So.3d –, is one of the first clear pronouncements regarding the duties of truck drivers in the face of inclement¬†weather. Specifically, both the lower court and the court of appeal, although there was no evidence the driver violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, rejected any argument that a violation thereof was proof of negligence. More simply, however, the Court noted that there was no question of fact as to the cause of the accident, given the physical evidence at the scene of the passing of a tornado and the testimony of the witnesses. We are grateful for the opportunity to have handled this matter to a successful end for our clients.