Defense Win in Appeal of Construction/ Negligence Case

LWDN congratulates Knoxville attorneys Joshua A. Wolfe and Adam F. Rust in a recent Tennessee Court of Appeals win. 

Attorney Wolfe argued the appeal before the Tennessee Court of Appeals after the Sevier County Circuit Court granted the Motion for Summary Judgment argued by Attorney Rust.  The Plaintiff, Joshua Lee, allegedly sustained injuries in a single vehicle accident, which also led to the death of a passenger inside the same vehicle, and filed suit against Lyons Construction Company, Inc. and the Tennessee Department of Transportation.  Attorneys Wolfe and Rust represented Lyons Construction Company, Inc.  The Plaintiff alleged that Lyons Construction had recently completed road work on the section of the highway where the accident occurred and that a low point in the pavement caused the Plaintiff to lose control of his vehicle and wreck.  Attorney Wolfe filed an Answer on behalf of Lyons Construction, stating that the company had completed the required construction of the highway and that the State of Tennessee had accepted its work pursuant to Tennessee Code Annotated § 12-4-501 et seq., which provides that, upon completion and acceptance of work performed for the State, a contractor is “discharged from all liability to any party.” 

Attorneys Wolfe and Rust filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which was accompanied by affidavits of the owner of Lyons Construction and the project supervisor for the Tennessee Department of Transportation, indicating that the road project at issue was completed and accepted by the State of Tennessee.  The Trial Court granted the motion and the plaintiff appealed, arguing that that Lyons Construction did not complete the roadwork according to plan specifications and that the company should not have been discharged from liability under Tennessee Statute.  After the filing of briefs and presenting oral arguments on behalf of Lyons Construction to the Tennessee Court of Appeals, the Court held that Lyons Construction made a properly supported motion, showing the Plaintiff could not prove an essential element of his claim: that Lyons Construction owed a duty to him.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals affirmed the Judgment of the Trial Court and remanded the action, with the costs of the cause assessed to the Plaintiff.