A lawsuit filed in 2015 against the Warren County School Board that was dropped once is back on the court’s docket.
Rachel Ann Reynolds is seeking $4 million after a Warren County Schools employee rear-ended a car that then hit her in 2013. Reynolds filed her initial suit in May 2015 against the driver of the car, Sandra Muddiman, and the Warren County School Board. The court dismissed the suit as it related to Muddiman as her position as an employee of the school board gave her sovereign immunity.
Despite the court dismissing the case, Reynolds brought it back in April. The court dismissed the case as it related to Muddiman in August but allowed the case against the School Board to move forward.
Muddiman was driving a School Board-owned suburban with special needs students in the vehicle when she claimed she thought the student sitting in the passenger seat was having a heart attack. Muddiman took her eyes off the road to check on the student when she drove into the back of a stopped car that then rolled forward into Reynolds’ car.
The School Board has admitted that Muddiman was driving the vehicle and took her eyes off the road to check on the student.
Reynolds is claiming Muddiman’s actions showed negligence.
In a motion filed in November, Reynolds’ attorneys requested that the School Board’s defense of Muddiman dealing with a sudden medical emergency be struck down. They argue that the School Board’s “employee’s mistaken belief her front seat passenger was suffering ‘a medical emergency’ raises a ‘sudden emergency’ defense to negligence.”
Reynolds’ attorneys argued that because there was no medical emergency and because Muddiman did not pull off the road to check on the student but instead continued driving while not looking at the road, the defense should not stand.
In response, the School Board claimed that it had not entered a defense on the grounds of a sudden medical emergency. Instead, it claims, the facts surrounding the incident involve a potential sudden medical emergency.
If the court struck down their defense, the School Board claimed, it would “deprive [the School Board] of its right to present its version of the facts at trial and let the jury determine the ultimate issue: whether the School Board’s driver exercised the level of care a reasonable person would have under the circumstances.”
The court has not ruled on Reynolds’ motion to strike the School Board’s sudden medical emergency defense.
The case is set for a three-day jury trial in Warren County Circuit Court from Oct. 28 through Oct. 30.