Bialek v. Lensen, AI-297

Decision Date29 October 1982
Docket NumberNo. AI-297,AI-297
Citation421 So.2d 654
PartiesPaul BIALEK, John G. Lane Line, Inc., a Florida corporation and Protective Insurance Company, a foreign corporation, Appellants, v. Rumiya S. LENSEN, as Personal Representative of the Estate of George A. Lensen, deceased, Appellee.
CourtFlorida District Court of Appeals

Charles Cook Howell, III, Howell, Howell, Liles, Braddock & Milton, Jacksonville, for appellants.

William H. Davis, Wadsworth & Davis, Tallahassee, for appellee.


Appellants seek reversal of a final judgment entered pursuant to a jury verdict which found Paul Bialek and John G. Lane Line, Inc. sixty percent negligent in the death of appellee's husband, and which awarded damages in the sum of $240,000.00. We affirm.

Appellee's wrongful death action charged that appellant-Paul Bialek, driver of a truck owned by appellant-John G. Lane Line, Inc., violated Sections 339.30, 316.1945, and 316.301, Florida Statutes (1977), all of which require display of warning lights and devices when a vehicle is stopped or disabled along the roadside, and which prohibit parking along the roadside, with some exceptions not material here. It is undisputed that on the day of the accident Bialek parked his truck partly on the paved emergency parking lane and partly on the grassy portion of the shoulder of Interstate Highway 10, just west of Macclenny. The automobile driven by the plaintiff's decedent, after passing another vehicle proceeding in a westerly direction, angled sharply to the right, crossing both westbound travel lanes and most of the emergency parking lane before it swerved back to the left, lined up directly behind the parked truck, then traveled for a distance of approximately 100 yards before colliding with the rear of the truck. 1 The plaintiff's decedent was killed instantly. There were some 30 feet of skid marks from the automobile prior to the point of impact.

An expert witness called by appellee gave testimony concerning the "forgiving roadside" design features of the interstate highway system which are aimed at providing an obstacle-free shoulder area so that vehicles accidentally or inadvertently straying from the travelled portion of the highway might be able to come to a safe stop or be redirected back onto the highway. Another expert witness for appellee testified concerning the "follow-the-leader" phenomenon under which a motorist, in the mistaken belief that he is following a moving vehicle, will plow directly into the rear of a nonmoving vehicle parked alongside the roadway in the absence of flashers or other warning conditions to warn of its stationary and off-the-road position. Appellants, on the other hand, maintained that the accident was the proximate result of some sudden disabling medical condition, or suicide on the part of the plaintiff's decedent. 2

We think the issue of proximate cause was one properly determinable by the jury, under appropriate instructions. The improper parking of the truck was the type of negligence which could foreseeably lead to a rear-end collision occurring under circumstances shown by the evidence in this case, and liability of the offending truck driver and its owner may be predicated upon violation of the statutes...

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  • Penske Truck Leasing Co., LP v. Moore
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • November 5, 1997
    ...proximate cause, the question of foreseeability as it relates to proximate cause must be left to the finder of fact); Bialek v. Lensen, 421 So.2d 654 (Fla. 1st DCA 1982)(holding that, notwithstanding defendant's illegal parking of his vehicle on the shoulder of the highway, the issue of pro......

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