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Defendants in Trucking Accident Seek to Transfer Case to Georgia Courts

In November 2012, a 32 year old Illinois State Trooper, Kyle Deatherage, was killed immediately after being struck by a truck while conducting a traffic stop along the interstate. Illinois law requires drivers to move over when a traffic stop is being conducted. In this case, the truck driver did not move over and hit the Trooper.

Wrongful death action filed in Illinois state court.

Earlier this year, the Trooper’s widow filed a wrongful death action in Illinois state court, seeking an undisclosed sum for herself as well as, the victim’s children. The widow claims that she and her children have suffered grief, mental anguish, and depression since the Trooper’s death. The suit was brought against DOT Foods, the company which owned the truck that hit and killed Deatherage as well as, the truck driver.

Complaint alleges that driver was medically unfit to drive.

The complaint alleges that the driver was medical impaired and unable to operate the truck safety due to a preexisting diabetic condition. According to the complaint, the driver should not have been driving the truck that killed the Trooper because he was on notice that the condition could cause blackouts, resulting in loss of control over the vehicle he was driving. In addition, DOT Foods should have discovered the medical condition and refused to allow the driver to operate their truck. The lawsuit points to medical reports from the driver’s treating physicians, DOT’s examining physician’s and other medical records as evidence to support its position.

The plaintiff’s position is supported by a ruling issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) last December, which revoked the truck driver’s license. The DOT ruling reasoned that the driver was medically unfit to drive and that he had not exercised the appropriate duty of care regarding his diabetes condition. In addition, the truck driver was charged with felony reckless homicide and operating a commercial vehicle without a proper license in April.

Defendants seek to transfer case to Georgia, citing the fact that the defendant and key witnesses live in the state.

In late May, the defendants filed court documents seeking to have the case transferred to a Georgia state court. They argued that the driver and two key witnesses as well as, other individuals who have knowledge regarding the allegations laid out in the plaintiff’s complaint live in Georgia and cannot be forced to testify in Illinois. The motion requesting transfer of venue goes on to explain that even if these individuals were willing to testify, traveling to Illinois would amount to a great inconvenience for them. In the alternative, the motion seeks to transfer the case to Madison County, Illinois, where the accident occurred.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident, you should contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the facts of your case and provide you with the counsel and representation you deserve.