The defendant had spent the evening at a “crab feed” where he had had a couple of beers with dinner. As the defendant was driving home, he stopped at a controlled intersection not far from where the event had been held. He noticed the plaintiff approaching the intersection from the opposite direction, and changing lanes into the left turn lane. Having the right of way, the defendant proceeded into the intersection. Plaintiff made a left turn in front of the defendant, who braked but did not have time to stop before hitting the plaintiff’s car. At the scene, the defendant was arrested and charged with DUI, as well as responsibility for causing the collision.
During discovery plaintiff admitted to having seen the defendant stop, and further admitted that he thought he could beat the defendant through the intersection, so he accelerated into the intersection. The defense established that the plaintiff had made an unsafe left turn right in front of the defendant who was already in the intersection and traveling at a safe speed for conditions, and that the defendant’s conduct did not contribute to the occurrence of the accident. Not only was the plaintiff’s claim for punitive damages denied, but the case was “defensed” and the DUI charges were dropped.