United Fire Group v. Staker and Parsons Companies, 2014 UT App 170 (July 25, 2014)
Jul 25, 2014
Plaintiffs were traveling on a stretch of highway that was under heavy construction. The construction resulted in lane closures and temporarily redirecting traffic. Plaintiffs’ vehicle drove off an unfinished embankment, and plaintiffs sustained injuries. There was a dispute as to whether the construction hazards were marked with signs at all. Following the close of discovery, the defense moved for summary judgment on the basis that the plaintiffs had not designated an expert to speak on some 1,000 pages worth of UDOT traffic control guidelines, and so could not establish for the fact-finder what the ordinary standard of care was for its negligence claim. The court of appeals held that an expert would not be required to determine that the ordinary standard of care was breached if there was a complete absence of signs, as was the plaintiffs’ position but that if there were signs, the plaintiffs would need an expert to establish an ordinary standard of care. The court reversed the summary judgment and remanded for further proceedings.