Last updated: September 06. 2013 9:55AM - 1139 Views
By - cwarner@civitasmedia.com

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UNION COUNTY — The Union County Sheriff’s Office is no longer a defendant in a lawsuit brought by the woman injured in a collision with a vehicle driven by a member of law enforcement in 2011.

In papers filed Wednesday afternoon in the Union County Clerk of Court’s Office, Mary Foster dismissed her claims against the sheriff’ office in a suit she filed in June of this year. The “voluntary dismissal” means that the sheriff’s office is no longer a defendant in the suit which continues against its former co-defendants, Jerome Beatty, the City of Union, and the Union Public Safety Department.

Foster states in her suit that, on June 23, 2011, she was driving west on North Duncan Avenue when Beatty, who was driving a car owned by the City of Union, “suddenly and without warning pulled out into Duncan Avenue, causing a violent collision” with her car. She claims that Beatty “was operating his vehicle in a reckless, grossly negligent, and willful and wanton manner while attempting an unsafe maneuver.” In so doing, the suit alleges Beatty violated Fosters right-of-way.

The suit claims that as a result of the wreck, Foster “suffered permanent injuries for which she still may require surgery.”

Foster alleges that the defendants in her suit were “negligent, grossly negligent, careless, reckless, willful and wanton” in failing to yield the right-of-way, keep a proper lookout, and maintain proper control over the vehicle Beatty was driving; by pulling out in front of her and causing the collision, attempting a reckless driving maneuver and endangering her life; by failing to avoid causing a collision; failing to properly observe road and traffic conditions; failing to exercise the degree of care a reasonable person would have exercised under those circumstances; operating the vehicle with a reckless disregard for her rights and safety; failing to use his car horn .”

The suit claims that because of this Foster was “severely, seriously, and painfully injured,” suffering “extreme and painful injuries including but not limited to her neck, back, left ankle and left shoulder.” It further claims that Foster was subjected to “the administration of strong and potent drugs and medications; a lengthy period of rehabilitation which is ongoing; and extreme pain, mental anguish, suffering and discomfort over a long period of time.” It also claims Foster has “incurred substantial medical and doctor bills and will continue to incur bills for future medical treatment related to this wreck.”

Foster is asking for actual, special, consequential, and punitive damages from the defendants as well legal costs and any other relief the court deems appropriate.

In a response filed with the clerk of court on Aug. 30, Beatty, the city, and the public safety department denied Foster allegations of negligence, gross negligence, carelessness, recklessness. The response alleges that Foster’s damages may have been the result of her own “negligence, recklessness, or gross negligence and such negligence, recklessness or gross negligence exceeds fifty percent of the cause of the accident.” It claims Foster failed to maintain a proper lookout and take proper care and caution.”

Because of this, the response states that Foster’s claim “would be completely barred by the doctrine of comparative negligence.” It further states that the defendants would show that even if Foster’s comparative fault did not exceed 50 percent that the defendants’ liability should be reduced in accordance with her own negligence.

Filed along with the response was a motion to dismiss Foster’s complaint against Beatty on the grounds that her claims for punitive damages are barred by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act. It also asks that the complaint be dismissed on the grounds that such claims filed against an individual performing their official duties as an employee of the city are also barred by the South Carolina Tort Claims Act.

Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at cwarner@civitasmedia.com.

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