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Comparative Fault

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Case: Carolyn Crisp v. Michael Nelms

Issue: Was “paceline” cycler at least 50% at fault for accident as a matter of law?

Facts: Plaintiff died while bicycling in a “paceline” group. His surviving spouse sued other cyclists, alleging they had slowed down suddenly. Defendants were granted summary judgment on the basis that paceline cycling is inherently dangerous such that the decedent was at least 50% at fault.

Appellate Decision: The intermediate court reversed, holding that there is a question of fact as to whether Defendants slowed down suddenly and whether a reasonable jury could find the decedent less than 50% at fault.

Review Granted: August 8, 2018.

Prediction: Ben thinks the Supreme Court is likely to affirm. The degree of inherent danger posed by paceline cycling and the alleged negligence of the Defendants are classic jury determinations rather than matters of law.