MARK THOMAS CHURCH ET AL. v. CHARLES BLALOCK & SONS, INC. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Chandra Williams on Feb 26, 2016

Head Comment: Correction: Only Correction: page 15, last paragraph, taxation of costs.

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter; Andre´e S. Blumstein, Solicitor General; and Dawn Jordan, Senior Counsel, Office of Attorney General; Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

Attorneys 2:

Gary E. Brewer and Steven W. Terry, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Mark Thomas Church. Edward R. Sempkowski, Morristown, Tennessee, for the appellee, Sherry Carlson, Administratrix of Estate of Patricia Ann Lunsford.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This action stems from a motor vehicle accident resulting in two fatalities that occurred at the intersection of the newly constructed State Route 91 and Old State Route 91 in Johnson County, Tennessee. Alleging that the design and construction of the intersection were negligent, the plaintiffs filed suit in the Johnson County Circuit Court against Johnson County and the general contractor who constructed the intersection. The plaintiffs also filed claims against the Tennessee Department of Transportation with the Tennessee Claims Commission, asserting that the intersection constituted a dangerous condition on a roadway. The claims filed with the Claims Commission were transferred to Johnson County Circuit Court, and all claims were subsequently consolidated in this action. Johnson County and the general contractor were later dismissed as defendants, such that the trial proceeded regarding the claims against the State only. Following a bench trial, the court granted judgment to the plaintiffs, determining the State to be 53% at fault and the deceased driver to be 47% at fault. The court awarded damages accordingly. The State timely appealed.1 We conclude that the evidence preponderates against the trial court’s determination that the intersection constituted a dangerous condition on the roadway or that the risk involved was foreseeable. We therefore reverse the trial court’s judgment.

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