RESTON, VA, May 29 (TLC News) — Morristown, N.J., trial lawyer Skippy Weinstein, inducted in 2003 into The Ten Leaders of Civil Trial Law of Northern New Jersey, this month drew headlines for advancing the novel position that a person texting a driver faced liability when the driver crashed and injured others.
A New Jersey judge Friday dismissed the claim against the texter, but not before Weinstein gained some acclaim for his novel legal reasoning, and for highlighting the dangers of receiving and sending cell-phone texts while driving.
Weinstein, representing a Morris County couple who sustained devastating injuries in a 2009 car collision with a young driver, issued a statement Friday: “Even though the case … has been dismissed, they are comforted by the thought that by bringing the case, it has accomplished the goal of making people think before they text, whether while driving or to someone who is driving. Perhaps it may prevent another tragic accident from occurring.”
According to MSNBC, Morris County Superior Court Judge David Rand said the sender of the text, Shannon Colonna, had no way to know when the driver, Kyle Best, would read the text, and therefore had no responsibility for a horrific 2009 accident in which Best was found at fault. Weinstein’s clients, David and Linda Kubert, who were on a motorcyle struck by Best, suffered devastating injuries in the crash; David Kubert had his left leg amputated.
The claim against the driver, Kyle Best, is pending.
It’s probably a good thing Weinstein’s novel “aiding and abetting” claim never got to a jury, if the 49 reader comments are any indication. Most of the reader comments on MSNBC.com concluded that the judge exercised “common sense” by dismissing the claim against the texter.
A sampling: “A judge with common sense advocating personal responsibility? Wow. I would like to suggest the Supreme Court for him.” Bernadette Royce, New York, NY.
“Nice to see common sense win out once in a while. If this case had gone on, the door would be open to all kinds of lawsuits for any kind of ‘distractions’.” – Mark DiGiacomo, Dryden, NY.