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Circuit Court Affirms Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendant Due to Plaintiff’s Failure to Respond

Posted in Firm News

Recently, an appellate court issued an opinion in a personal injury case finding that summary judgment should be granted because the plaintiff did not properly respond to the defendant’s motion. The case is important for New Mexico trucking accident victims because it illustrates how crucial it is to comply with all court-imposed requirements.

Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a truck driver who was injured when he opened the door to his truck’s trailer, and a load of boxes toppled over on top of him. The truck driver sustained injuries and subsequently filed a personal injury lawsuit against the person who loaded the truck and that person’s employer.

The company moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not establish each element of his case. However, the plaintiff did not respond. Instead, the plaintiff asked the court to allow him to call an expert witness to testify at trial. The lower court found that since the driver did not respond to the summary judgment motion, he essentially accepted the facts presented in that motion, and as a result, the motion should be granted.

Appeal to Circuit Court

The plaintiff appealed the case to the circuit court. The plaintiff conceded that he did not properly respond to the defendant’s motion, but he claimed that despite his failure to respond, there was sufficient evidence that the company breached its duty to him and that the facts presented by the company were incomplete and misleading.

The Circuit Court’s Holding

The circuit court noted that “negligence is never assumed,” and negligence must be proven by the party asserting its existence. Furthermore, the court held that plaintiffs cannot rely on speculation or the fact that the accident occurred as an inference of negligence. In this situation, the plaintiff did not present any facts that would indicate that the company or person who loaded the truck was negligent, so the court held that the district court was correct in granting summary judgment.

The Importance of Properly Responding to Summary Judgment Motions in New Mexico

As shown above, if a plaintiff does not respond to a motion for summary judgment, it is likely that the case will be dismissed. This can result in lengthy delays and costly court fees. Furthermore, an improper response to a motion for summary judgment can be similarly fatal to a personal injury lawsuit. It is crucial that New Mexico injury victims have dedicated counsel who are well-versed in New Mexico negligence law and can ensure that all procedural rules are followed.

Have You Been Injured in a New Mexico Truck Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a New Mexico trucking accident, you should contact the attorneys at the Fine Law Firm. The New Mexico personal injury attorneys at the Fine Law Firm have decades of collective experience handling a wide range of New Mexico injury cases, and they know what it takes to succeed on their clients’ behalf. Contact one of the dedicated and experienced attorneys at the Fine Law Firm for a free initial consultation to discuss your potential rights and remedies. We can be reached at 800-640-6590 or through our online form.

More Blog Posts:

New Mexico Employees’ Rights and Remedies When Injured by a Third Party While at Work, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, January 25, 2018.

Court Parses Out Liability in Multi-Defendant Truck Accident Case, New Mexico Personal Injury Lawyer Blog, February 5, 2018.