DONNA J. GIBSON, Plaintiff,
METROPOLITAN GROUP PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, GARY HIGGINS and JOHN DOORDAN, Defendants.
Submitted: August 28, 2017
Defendant Gary Higgins' Motion for Summary Judgment.
J. Rhoades, Esquire, and Stephen T. Morrow, Rhoades &
Morrow LLC, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorneys for Plaintiff.
M. Grubb, Esquire, Law Office of Cynthia G. Beam, Newark,
Delaware, Attorney for Defendant, Gary Higgins.
A. Burleigh, Esquire, Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman &
Goggin, Wilmington, Delaware, Attorney for Defendant
Metropolitan Group Property and Casualty Insurance Company.
D. Cecil, Jr., Tybout, Redfearn & Pell, Wilmington,
Delaware, Attorney for Defendant John Doordan.
L. SCOTT, JR. JUDGE.
and Parties' Contentions
Gary Higgins ("Mr. Higgins"), filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment on July 24. 2017. In his motion, Mr. Higgins
contends that there is no issue of genuine fact and he is
entitled to summary judgment pursuant to Superior Court Civil
Rule 56. This action arose from a three-car collision in
Newark, Delaware. On September 18, 2015, Plaintiff Donna J.
Gibson ("Plaintiff) was driving on Main Street in
Newark, Delaware. Mr. Higgins was operating a vehicle
directly behind Plaintiff, and Defendant John Doordan
("Mr. Doordan") was operating a vehicle behind Mr.
Higgins. At or near the intersection of Pomeroy Drive in
Newark, Delaware, Mr. Higgins states that Mr. Doordan struck
the rear of his vehicle which caused Mr. Higgins' vehicle
to strike the rear of Plaintiff s vehicle. On May 22, 2017,
Plaintiff, Mr. Higgins and Mr. Doordan were deposed. Mr.
Higgins argues that Plaintiff was unable to state which
vehicle stopped directly behind her and "what the driver
of the third vehicle was doing at the time of impact because
at all times she was looking forward." Mr. Higgins
points to his deposition where he testified that he
"absolutely" came to a "controlled stop,
" and that he was hit from behind and he was pushed into
Plaintiffs vehicle. Additionally, Mr. Higgins argues that Mr.
Doordan testified that the sun was in his face and he thought
that the traffic light turned green so he accelerated which
caused him to rear-end Mr. Higgins' vehicle which was at
a complete stop. Based on Mr. Higgins' and Mr.
Doordan's testimony, Mr. Higgins argues that the record
is devoid of any proof that Mr. Higgins was negligent. Mr.
Higgins cites to two cases to support his argument. First,
Mr. Higgins cites to Reid v. Hindt for the
proposition that the Delaware Supreme Court affirmed summary
judgment where the record established that the middle vehicle
driver was not negligent. Additionally, Mr. Higgins cites to
Smith v. Haldeman arguing that this Court
granted summary judgment in favor of a defendant in a
factually similar case.
other hand, Plaintiff argues that the evidence is sufficient
for a jury to find that Mr. Higgins struck Plaintiffs vehicle
first. Plaintiff points to her deposition testimony which
Q: And why don't you tell me in your own words how the
A: Ok. We were just riding down Main Street. It was a red
light, came to a stop. Then all of a sudden, I felt a bump
from behind and then another hit from behind.
Q: So you felt two impacts from ...