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Dogan v. Buff

Court of Appeals of Georgia

November 7, 2014

DOGAN
v.
BUFF et al

Negligence. Gwinnett State Court. Before Judge Rich.

Summerville Moore, Darren Summerville, S. Leighton Moore, Link & Smith, Mark D. Link, Werner & Associates, Michael L. Werner, for appellant.

Mozley, Finlayson & Loggins, Brian J. Duva, Andrew M. Capobianco, Drew Eckl & Farnham, Brian T. Moore, Ware & Associates, Kay D. Thompson, for appellees.

MILLER, Judge. Doyle, P. J., and Dillard, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 675

Miller, Judge.

This personal injury case arises out of two consecutive accidents on Interstate 75. Henry Dogan sued truck driver Jimmy Buff and Buff's employer Rockwell Transportation, alleging that he was injured when Buff negligently and recklessly rear-ended Dogan's vehicle. Buff and Rockwell moved for summary judgment, and the trial court granted their motion.[1] Dogan appeals, contending that factual questions remain regarding Buff's failure to exercise ordinary care. Dogan also contends that the trial court misapplied the rule in Prophecy,[2] and failed to consider other evidence on the issue of ordinary care, including the expert evidence and Rockwell's own safety policies. For the reasons that follow, we reverse.

On appeal from the grant of summary judgment this Court conducts a de novo review of the evidence to determine whether there is a genuine issue of material fact and whether the undisputed facts, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, warrant judgment as a matter of law.

(Citations omitted.) Campbell v. The Landings Assn., Inc., 289 Ga. 617, 618 (713 S.E.2d 860) (2011).

So viewed, the evidence shows that on February 18, 2009, at approximately 11:30 in the morning, Dogan was driving north on I-75 near Roswell Road. Dogan was driving a Ford van, owned by his employer Royalty Transportation, and he was driving the van in the course and scope of his employment as a patient transport driver. Dogan had dropped off a patient at Emory Hospital in Atlanta and was on his way to Woodstock to

Page 676

pick up his next patient. That section of I-75 northbound had five lanes and Dogan was driving in the third lane, i.e., the center lane. Traffic on the interstate was heavy, it had just rained and the roadway was wet.

Buff, who was admittedly working in the course and scope of his employment for Rockwell, was hauling a load of dialysis supplies in [329 Ga.App. 500] a tractor-trailer. He was heading to Chattanooga, Tennessee. The gross weight of the fully-loaded tractor-trailer was 80,000 pounds, and Rockwell's trucking manual required its drivers to keep a driving distance of at least one truck length between the driver's vehicle and the vehicle in front of the driver for every ten mph of speed.

Kevin Palmer was driving an Isuzu truck in the center lane in front of Dogan. Michael Lawrence was driving his mother's BMW in lane two, the lane directly to the left of the lane in which Dogan was driving. Lawrence and Palmer were ...


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