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Summary Judgment in I-70 Accident Case

Jim Dieterich and Dmitry Vilner obtained summary judgment for White and Steele’s client, a truck driver, by successfully arguing that the claims were barred by the statute of limitations.  The plaintiff had rented a car and turned over the wheel to his wife late at night while driving with his family across country.  While traveling in a construction zone on I-70, the wife crashed the car into a tractor-trailer driven by our client.  The wife was killed, and the other occupants were injured.

Plaintiff initially filed a lawsuit naming our truck driver client and others as defendants.  However, plaintiff failed to timely serve the truck driver, and the court dismissed our client from the case without prejudice.  The plaintiff’s case was then consolidated with another case naming the same defendants, filed by the plaintiff’s daughter and grandson in a separate county.  Our truck driver client had been properly served in this other case.  When the plaintiff moved to amend his complaint in the new case to re-add our client as a party, we argued that the 3-year statute of limitations prevented the plaintiff from doing so.  The court agreed that the amended complaint did not “relate back” to the original complaint, that the statute of limitations was not tolled, and the case against our client was dismissed.