Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Huber v. United States

United States District Court, District of Columbia

April 16, 2019

ROBERT D. HUBER, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION SETTING FORTH FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

          TANYA S. CHUTKAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Robert Huber sued the United States, pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act, 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b) and 2671, et seq. ("FTCA"), for damages arising from injuries that he allegedly sustained when a Government Services Administration ("GSA") vehicle hit his vehicle while driving across Memorial Bridge on May 14, 2012. The government filed a counterclaim, claiming that Huber's negligence was the cause of the accident.

         The court conducted a five-day bench trial from January 22, 2018 through January 26, 2018, and the parties filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law on March 28, 2018. ECF Nos. 47 and 48.

         Based upon the evidence presented at trial and submitted by the parties, the court makes the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth below. Based on these findings of fact and conclusions of law, the court concludes that Plaintiff has sustained his burden of proof on his negligence claim, and enters judgment in favor of Plaintiff.

         Specifically, the court finds that Plaintiff has carried his burden of establishing by a preponderance of the evidence that the driver of the GSA vehicle acted negligently in causing the collision between the GSA vehicle and Plaintiffs vehicle. The court also finds that Plaintiff has established by a preponderance of the evidence that the accident was the proximate cause of at least some of his injuries, and that the government has not carried its burden on its counterclaim. However, because the parties submitted insufficient evidence and briefings on the issue of damages, the court orders the parties to submit supplemental briefing on this issue. Plaintiffs brief is due on May 16, 2019, Defendant's response is due on June 17, 2019, and Plaintiffs reply is due on July 1, 2019.

         I. FINDINGS OF FACT

         A. Circumstances Surrounding the Accident

         i. The witnesses and their credibility

1. Five witnesses testified about the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident: (i) Plaintiff Robert Huber; (ii) GSA vehicle driver Ernest Gilbert; (iii) GSA vehicle passenger Paul Chapman; (iv) Plaintiffs collision expert David Plant; and (v) Defendant's collision expert Dennis Guenther.
2. The court finds that Robert Huber's testimony about the accident was credible.
3. The court finds that Paul Chapman's testimony about the accident was credible.
4. The court finds that Ernest Gilbert's testimony about the accident was not credible because he admitted he had a poor recollection of the events in question, and that lack of recollection was apparent in his testimony.
5. The court finds that David Plant's testimony was credible.
6. The court finds that Dennis Guenther's testimony was only partially credible.

         ii. The accident

         The court makes the following findings of fact regarding the May 14, 2012 accident.

1. Plaintiff Robert Huber was driving his Toyota SUV from his home in Silver Spring, Maryland to work at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, having left home at approximately 10:00 a.m. Tr. 76:18-77:22.
2. GSA vehicle driver Ernest Gilbert and passenger Paul Chapman were test driving a route for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization ("JIEDDO") from the JIEDDO office in Arlington, Virginia to the area around 23rd Street Northwest in Washington, DC and back. At the time of the accident, Gilbert and Chapman were returning to the JIEDDO office. Tr. 386:10-17.
3. At approximately 11:00 a.m., the GSA vehicle and Huber's vehicle collided on the traffic circle west of Memorial Bridge in Washington, DC. PI. Ex. 3; Tr. 384:11-385:10.
4. At the time of the accident, the roads were wet. Tr. 78:11, 342:10, 385:5.
5. At the time of the accident, Huber's vehicle was traveling at approximately 30 miles per hour in the far left lane. Tr. 79:2, 88:1.
6. Huber was wearing his seatbelt at the time of the accident. Tr. 98:21-23.
7. The GSA vehicle was traveling one lane to the right of Huber's vehicle. Tr. 348:11-13.
8. A solid white line separated the lanes in which Huber's vehicle and the GSA vehicle were traveling. PI. Ex. 29-E.
9. Immediately before the accident, Chapman was looking at traffic on his Blackberry device. However, he noticed that Huber's vehicle had come from the rear left-hand side of the GSA vehicle. Tr. 387:17-18, 400:23-401:1.
10. Dr. Plant's Monte Carlo analysis shows that immediately prior to the accident both vehicles were crossing Memorial Bridge towards Memorial Circle. Tr. 157:10-17.
11. This means that Huber was not subject to a Yield sign, which applies only to traffic coming around Memorial Circle. Tr. 348:15-17.
12. The accident involved an impact between the left side of the GSA vehicle and the right side of Huber's vehicle as the GSA vehicle changed lanes. Tr. 84:22-85:8, 400:25-401:1. The damage to both vehicles was ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.