A Federal Court in Louisville, Kentucky recently answered the question on whether evidence of numerous criminal convictions of the driver of a truck involved in an automobile accident should be allowed in at trial in a civil automobile accident case.
The facts of that case are as follows. An accident occurred on I-65 in Louisville. A car was in traffic when it was hit from the rear by a tractor-semitrailer rig owned and operated by Beelman Truck Company. The impact pushed the car into the vehicle in front of it, forcing the car partially under the semitrailer of that vehicle which was operated by Paschall and driven by a Mr. Wendell Price. Initially, Plaintiff Ms. Smith only sued Beelman Truck Company. But, Beelman brought in the Paschall vehicle claiming that it was defective in that among other things, it had an underride protection bumper that was inadequately attached to the semitrailer. Beelman also claimed that Paschall was negligent in the hiring or retention of Mr. Price because Mr. Price failed to recognized the inadequacy of the underride bumper and that he was unqualified to operated a commercial motor vehicle. (See Smith v. Beelman Truck co., 2009 WL 126590 (W.D.Ky.))
It was brought to the court’s attention that Mr. Price had prior felony and misdemeanor convictions. Paschall moved to exclude this evidence in that it contends that Mr. Price’s prior convictions are irrelevant and therefore inadmissible. And if even irrelevant, its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice. This was a very good outcome for Mr. Price’s Louisville car accident attorney.
The trial court noted that no party contends that Price’s operation of the Paschall vehicle contributed to cause the accident. Rather the parties just claim that Price’s vehicle was in a defective condition at the time of the car accident.
The court thus concluded that Price’s prior criminal record was irrelevant and therefore inadmissible. Mr. Price’s purported negligent inspection of the Paschall semitrailer is not in any way proven by evidence of his prior criminal misconduct. Id. A Louisville car accident attorney can explain in detail what this ruling may mean for you or a loved one.
If you have been the subject of a Louisville car accident matter, please call and speak to a Louisville car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Andrew S. Alitowski at 888-ASK-ANDREW (275-2637) or contact us online. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
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