Lawrence County Judge John Hodge recently allowed a negligence and
wrongful death claim to proceed against two men who were texting a driver as she
crashed into a motorcyclist causing fatal injuries.
In his decision of March, 2016, Judge Hodge cited the Restatement (Second) of
Torts, which provides a third party can be held another in violating a duty. Judge
Hodge was also persuaded by New Jersey case law as follows:
“The New Jersey case of Kubert, supra, although not binding on the Court
here, suggests that the sender of a text message can be liable for sending
a text message while the recipient is operating a motor vehicle if the
sender knew or had reason to know the recipient was driving. In
reflecting upon Section 876 of the Restatement and Kubert, and in
considering the averments in the light most favorable to the plaintiff as
the law requires, the court concludes that Defendant Fend should remain
a party in this case at this time, and plaintiff may explore through
discovery whether Defendant Fend violated a duty owed to a third
person.” (Emphasis supplied).
As this case makes its way through the Pennsylvania Courts, the message is
Don’t text anyone you know to be driving, and if anyone texts you while driving,
Author: O’Donnell Law Offices
O’Donnell Law Offices
267 Wyoming Ave.
Kingston, PA 18704
Phone: (570) 821-5717
Fax: (570) 821-5799