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February 10, 2021 – Partner Jay Eidex obtained Summary Judgment on behalf of his client in case where the Plaintiff was a passenger in the Defendant’s vehicle. At the time of the accident, the Plaintiff and Defendant were involved in a relationship. The unusual factor was that the Plaintiff was asleep in the passenger seat at the time of the accident. She testified in her deposition that she first learned of the collision when she was awoken by the noise of the Plaintiff vehicle striking the guardrail. She further testified that she did not know what happened, but was told by the Defendant that he had hit a deer once the tow truck arrived. Later in her deposition, she claimed that she thought that the Defendant might have fallen asleep and that caused the accident, but she admitted she was asleep and did not know if that was the case and that it was just supposition on her part.
The Police report in the accident stated that “The driver of vehicle one [the Defendant] was traveling along Ga. 401 when a deer ran into the roadway and collided with his vehicle. Vehicle one then traveled into the right shoulder and collided with the guard rail before spinning and coming to rest in the two far left lanes of travel.” The Defendant also submitted an affidavit where he stated that he was travelling at the speed limit and paying full attention to the roadway and surroundings when a deer entered his lane suddenly and without warning.
Mr. Eidex moved for summary judgment on behalf of his clients asserting that there was no evidence of negligence on the part of the Defendant and that the case of Purvis v. Steve, 284 Ga. App. 116 (2007) is directly on point and offers an overview of the law as it pertains to motor vehicle collisions with deer in which the Court held “Negligence is not to be presumed, but is a matter for affirmative proof. In the absence of affirmative proof of negligence, we must presume performance of duty and freedom from negligence.” Mr. Eidex argued that there was no evidence that the Defendant was negligent in any manner and that the Plaintiff admitted in her testimony that she did not know how the accident happened.
Judge Holly Veal of the Superior Court of Henry County agreed with Mr. Eidex and granted Summary Judgment to Mr. Eidex’ client.
he case is Jessica D. Ryals v. Trevor A. Buchanan.
Superior Court of Henry County, CAFN: SUCV-2017-000727