Morales v. Dougherty and Mabe, dba Top Gun Trucking (Published Memo): Here’s one for the personal injury practitioners. Truck wreck case upholding the submission of a sudden emergency instruction and the admission of testimony about the plaintiff’s insurance coverage.
Here’s the crash scenario, with letters representing vehicles.
A B C Hill D
The plaintiff, A, was waiting to make a left turn on a rural highway. B, and then C came up behind her. D then topped the hill. D couldn’t stop in time, so he went off road on the right around C. But D then lost control and veered back onto the road, into A. C, another trucker, testified that, in his opinion, D did all that could be done and that A was dawdling.
That fact pattern supports a sudden emergency instruction for D. Even without D having plead for such an instruction. Sudden emergency is not an affirmative defense, so D could simply request the instruction during the charge conference.
The Tyler court holds that the plaintiff opened the door to testimony about her insurance coverage. She asked for thousands of dollars for medical procedures. She said that she had not gotten the procedures because she couldn’t pay for them. But she had insurance. The trial court and the Tyler court say that the plaintiff’s plea of poverty opened the door to her insurance coverage.