Assignment: Assignment 3

You have filed a lawsuit on behalf of Janet Strother against Susan Fried in state court in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. This case involves an incident that occurred on July 12, 2013. On that date, plaintiff and her eight-year-old son, Sean, were riding their bicycles on the sidewalk approaching 2250 Barrington Road in University Heights, Ohio. Sean was riding a few feet in front of his mother.

At the same time, defendant was backing her car out of her driveway located at 2250 Barrington Road. On the passenger side of defendant’s vehicle, the driveway was lined with hedges, which obstructed the view of the driveway from the sidewalk.

Noted from a preliminary interview with a member of your firm indicate that your client gave the following responses:

Q And how did you come to fall?

A I just saw the car moving in front of me and I hit brakes and I fell off the bike.

Q Where was her vehicle when you first saw it?

A Let me just say this, it happened so quickly, that she was right there in front of me when I just slammed on brakes. I didn’t see her until she just pulled out in front of me.

Your client claims that she did not see the defendant’s car until it was right in front of her because the protruding hedges obstructed her view. She stated that the car extended over half of the sidewalk and that the sudden emergence of the car caused her to apply the brakes of her bicycle quickly and to fall, injuring her knee. Your client has repeatedly stated that the car was in front of her when she fell.

Defendant claimed, in her answer, that she saw plaintiff and her son riding their bikes along the sidewalk while she was backing out of the driveway. She claims, in her answer, that she brought her vehicle to a stop at the point of intersection between her driveway and the sidewalk. She claims that she came to a complete stop before Mrs. Strother, who was allegedly twelve to twenty feet from this intersection, saw her vehicle. She further claimed that she stopped her vehicle, a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta, right before the sidewalk, when the plaintiff’s bicycle struck her car, causing plaintiff’s injuries.

Both parties agree that defendant then exited her car to see whether the plaintiff was hurt and she subsequently loaded plaintiff’s bicycle in her trunk and offered to drive plaintiff home. Plaintiff then entered the car through the passenger side.

You filed a complaint in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, to which an answer was filed.

In your research, you have found the following relevant language under Ohio Revised Code 4511.431 that specifies the duty of emerging cars. The law states:

The driver of a vehicle or trackless trolley emerging from an alley, building, private road, or driveway within a business or residence district shall stop the vehicle or trackless trolley immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk area extending over the alley, building entrance, road, or driveway, or in the event there is no sidewalk area, shall stop at the point nearest the street to be entered where the driver has a view of approaching traffic thereon.

Ohio Revised Code 4511.38 states as follows:

Rules for starting and backing vehicles.

No person shall start a vehicle, streetcar, or trackless trolley which is stopped, standing, or parked until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.

Before backing, operators of vehicles, streetcars, or trackless trolleys shall give ample warning, and while backing they shall exercise vigilance not to injure person or property on the street or highway.

No person shall back a motor vehicle on a freeway, except: in a rest area; in the performance of public works or official duties; as a result of an emergency caused by an accident or breakdown of a motor vehicle.

Your client has also told you that she saw the police interviewing two bystanders after the accident, but she has no idea who they are or where they live.

Please map out an initial discovery plan for this case. Please include all of the discovery devices that you believe are important to explore and explain why and how you will use them in this case. If there are necessary facts that are missing from the hypothetical, you may make any reasonable assumptions, as long as you clearly state the assumption.