JBJ Legal is proud to announce that BJ Brinkerhoff and Alexandra Blackwell, in partnership with with Lucy Dollens from Quarles and Brady obtained a successful result from the Indiana Supreme Court today. Our team co-authored an Amicus Brief on behalf of the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana in Eric McGowen and Vision Logistics, Inc. v. Bradley Montes, 19A-CT-01707.
In Montes, the trial court granted immunity from negligence to Defendants McGowen and Vision Logistics under the Indiana’s Good Samaritan Act. McGowen arrived upon the scene of an accident and noticed a truck in a ditch at the side of the road with its headlights on, and the roof, windshield and hood heavily damaged. Another vehicle drove off as McGowan approached. McGowen stopped near the middle of the road to call 911 and check on the driver of the truck, who was wandering around the scene. While stopped, McGowen’s vehicle was struck by a vehicle driven by Montes.
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s award of immunity to McGowen and Vision Logistics, and also reversed the trial court’s allowance of a gross negligence claim to proceed, instead holding that as a matter of law, McGowen’s conduct could not constitute gross negligence. Montes sought transfer to the Indiana Supreme Court, supported by an Amicus Brief from the Indiana Trial Lawyers Association. Together, they argued that the Indiana Court of Appeals improperly interpreted the Good Samaritan Law in the broadest way possible and ruled contrary to the plan language of the statute.
In the Amicus Brief, JBJ Legal and Quarles & Brady advocated for immunity for individuals who provide assistance to others during emergencies, and argued that the Good Samaritan Law was intentionally enacted as a broad statute for the imposition of immunity to encourage a wide range of assistance, or to protect individuals who graciously rendered emergency care to others without risk of liability. The Supreme Court agreed by denying the petition to transfer today.
Check out the full Amicus Brief for an interesting read – we cover everything from a murder in New York to the bible when arguing the importance of the Good Samaritan laws!