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Adams Stepner Attorneys Secure Appellate Victory Vacating a 1.3 Million Judgment

Jeff Mando and Dan Linneman, both members of the Firm’s Local Government and Litigation practice groups, recently secured a victory at the Kentucky Court of Appeals vacating a trial court judgment in the case Abraham v. City of Nicholasville Police Department, et al.

In the case, Nicholasville Police Officer Burke Rhoads died as a result of a three-car accident. On March 11, 2015, Officer Rhoads was driving his police cruiser on a highway. Attempting to avoid a collision with another car, Officer Rhoads collided with the plaintiffs’ vehicle, causing injuries to the plaintiffs and the death of Officer Rhoads. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that Officer Rhoads was negligent in operating his vehicle. The Defendants, however, sought a jury instruction on the “sudden emergency” doctrine, arguing that Officer Rhoads was not negligent in operating his vehicle, because he was faced with a sudden and unexpected emergency. The trial court, however, refused to instruct the jury on this doctrine, which founds in the plaintiff’s favor.

Adopting Mando’s and Linneman’s appellate argument that the trial court’s failure to instruct the jury on the “sudden emergency” doctrine was error, the Kentucky Court of Appeals vacated this judgment and remanded for a new trial. Additionally, the Court vacated the judgment on the grounds that the trial court erred in limiting the testimony of one of the Defendants’ expert witnesses. You can review a full copy of the decision here.

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