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Slagowski v. Central Washington Asphalt

United States District Court, D. Nevada

July 1, 2014

CANDICE SLAGOWSKI, et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
CENTRAL WASHINGTON ASPHALT, et al., Defendants.

ORDER

CAM FERENBACH, Magistrate Judge.

This matter involves the Slagowski family's wrongful death action and the Law family's consolidated personal injury action. Four motions are before the court. First, Third-Party Defendant Mitchell Zemke filed a motion in limine (#251[1]). Five parties joined in the motion. ( See Docs. #253, #254, #256, #257, #258). Defendant Central Washington Asphalt responded (#260); and Zemke replied (#261).

Second, Zemke filed a supplemental motion in limine (#266). Three parties joined in the supplement. ( See Docs. #267, #268, #269). In response, Central Washington Asphalt filed the third motion: a motion to strike (#271). Zemke opposed Central Washington Asphalt's motion to strike (#282). One party joined ( See Doc. #283).

Fourth, Zemke filed an emergency motion for a protective order (#279). Three parties joined. ( See Docs. #280, #281, #284). No oppositions were filed. For the reasons stated below, Zemke's motions are denied and Central Washington Asphalt's motion to strike is denied as moot.

BACKGROUND

For purposes of the motions before the court, the relevant facts include the circumstances surrounding (1) the collision and (2) the discovery dispute before the court. Both are addressed below.

I. The Collision[2]

On December 12, 2010, Defendants James Wentland, Jerry Goldsmith, and Donald Hannon were driving trucks owned by Defendant Central Washington Asphalt. They were headed southbound on Nevada State Route 318. Route 318 is a two-lane road. It was six o'clock at night and dark.

Wentland and Goldsmith were driving in one truck, followed by Hannon in a second truck. Wentland pulled into the oncoming traffic lane, and passed four vehicles. Now, four more were in front of him, including a third truck driven by Third-Party Defendant Chip Fenton.

Having safely returned to the southbound lane, Wentland got on his citizens band ("CB") radio and told Hannon, who was driving behind him, that it was still safe to pass Fenton.

It was not. A GMC Envoy, driven by Third-Party Defendant Mitchell Zemke, was headed northbound. Fenton saw Zemke's approaching and told Hannon that it was not safe to pass. Hannon, nevertheless, relied on Wentland's advice, pulled into the oncoming traffic lane, and accelerated directly towards Zemke.

Zemke's wife, Kathryn, looked up from her phone and yelled at her husband because there were headlights in the northbound lane. It was Hannon. Zemke swerved right, drove into the dirt, temporarily lost control, overcorrected, and collided with three cars as he pulled back onto the road. Five people were injured, including Doreen and Phillip Law, and one person-Jon Slagowski-died.

Fenton radioed Wentland, Goldsmith, and Hannon. He told them what had happened, and asked them to stop. In response, someone replied, "I'm in trouble."

Wentland, Goldsmith, and Hannon did not stop. They drove on for another forty miles until the Nevada Highway Patrol pulled them over, at which point they ...


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