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NJ Superior Court Judge Dismisses Texting Lawsuit

By: Amelia Lolli, Esquire

On May 25, 2012, a New Jersey Superior Court Judge granted summary judgment in the case of Kubert v. Best, in favor of a defendant, Shannon Colonna, who was accused of sending a text message to a friend while he was driving. On September 19, 2009, Kyle Best, age 19, received a text message from a female friend while operating his motor vehicle in Randolph, Morris County, New Jersey. Mr. Best lost control of his vehicle, crossed the yellow line and struck David and Linda Kubert on their motorcycle. Both individuals suffered very serious personal injuries.

The Kuberts claimed that because Mr. Best had responded to several of Ms. Colonna’s text message just prior to the accident, she helped cause the accident and filed suit against her alleging civil aiding and abetting claims against her. Plaintiffs claimed Ms. Colonna knew or should have known that Mr. Best was driving when she sent the text and was “electronically present” in Mr. Best’s pickup truck at the time of the crash. The Kuberts attempted to apply traditional tort law concepts like, forseeability and proximate cause, to this case of first impression.

Ms. Colonna’s lawyer argued that there was no New Jersey case that recognized a duty not to send a text message to a person who is driving a car and that it would be unfair and unworkable to impose that duty on texters because they have “no control over when, where or how recipients will read and respond to their messages.”

Plaintiffs’ attorney stated that his clients will appeal. They hope that this case will make people think twice before sending a text message to an individual who is driving.

All information for this article from New Jersey Law Journal, May 29, 2012