Summary Judgement Obtained in Construction Law/Wrongful Death Case

Gregg E. ThorntonWHT attorneys Gregg Thornton and Joshua Ellis obtained summary judgment on behalf of their client Bansal Construction, Inc. in the case, William Leonard, as Executor of the Estate of Debbie Leonard v. Bruce Grimes; Harrod Concrete and Stone; Bansal Construction, Inc.; Kay and Kay Contracting LLC; and Harrod Transport Co., before Judge Reynolds in the Fayette Circuit Court. This Construction Law/Wrongful Death action arises out of a tragic vehicular accident that occurred just outside a temporary construction entrance to the Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Kentucky. At the time of the accident Bansal was performing duties as electrical subcontractor on the Airport Construction Project.

On the morning of February 28, 2017, Bansal ordered ten yards of flowable fill concrete from Harrod Concrete and Stone. Harrod responded and issued its employee, Brice Grimes, a load ticket and dispatched him to the Airport Construction Project to fulfill the order. Around 8:00 a.m. that morning, traveling westbound Versailles Road, Grimes maneuvered his Concrete Mixer onto a median and awaited four lanes of heavy, rush-hour traffic to stop and permit him to execute a left turn into the temporary construction entrance. The three lanes closest to the median stopped and allowed him to cross. Unfortunately, at the same time, Ms. Debbie Leonard was traveling in the fourth lane—the right turn lane. The vehicles collided; Ms. Leonard suffered severe injuries, and died several weeks later as a result of the accident.

Plaintiff, as executor of his wife’s estate, filed a negligence action against Harrod and Grimes. Subsequently, Harrod filed a Third Party Complaint against Bansal and alleged Bansal was responsible for the operation, maintenance, and construction of the temporary entrance Grimes was attempting to enter; that Bansal breached their duties with respect to the entrance; and that Bansal’s breach was a substantial factor in causing the accident. After deposing Harrod’s liability expert, Gregg Thornton and Joshua Ellis filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Motion sets forth the arguments that Bansal did not owe Plaintiff a legal duty recognized in the Commonwealth of Kentucky; and that, assuming arguendo, Bansal owed Plaintiff a legal duty, Bansal’s alleged negligent conduct (providing improper directions to a materials vendor) was too remote in the sequence of events to be the proximate cause of the accident. Judge Reynolds sustained the Motion for Summary Judgment. In so doing, the Court did not reach the merits of Bansal’s proximate cause argument and held Bansal did not owe Plaintiff a legal duty. Plaintiff’s case will proceed against the remaining defendants; Bansal is dismissed from the case.

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