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Text Recipient In Crash Texter Liable?

Text Recipient Crashes

Here’s a case that could have national impact: A New Jersey appellate court is being asked whether a texter can be held liable if the text recipient “crashes and causes harm to other while reading and driving,” according to The Daily Record of Morristown.

The three-judge appeals panel heard arguments on the case Monday, for an appeal of a judge’s ruling a year ago. Back then Superior¬† Court Judge David Rand decided that Shannon Colonna of Rockaway, N.J., couldn’t be held civilly responsible for aiding and abetting the actions of Kyle Best, then 19, of Wharton, N.J., The Record reported.

While reading a text from Colonna, Best got into an accident with his pickup truck and hit a couple traveling on a motorcycle in Mine Hill, N.J. As a result of the 2009 accident, David and Linda Kubert each lost a leg.

During Monday’s arguments, the Kuberts’ attorney maintained that texters have a “duty of care” not to send messages if they know the recipient is driving and shouldn’t be distracted, according to The Record. The Kuberts want Colonna added back as a defendant in the lawsuit stemming from the accident.

In turn, Colonna’s lawyer told the panel that she can’t be held liable for when Best decided to read her texts, The Record reported. She had sent Best more than 60 texts during the hours before the 2009 accident.

According to the local newspaper, last year the Kuberts settled their lawsuit with Nest for $500,000, the limit on his truck’s insurance. He also pleaded guilty to driving while using a hand-held phone, and for his sentence he had to lecture at 14 high schools on the dangers of distracted driving.


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