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Motorcyclist settles suit for $375K after pot evidence blunted

Matt Chaney//February 25, 2019

Motorcyclist settles suit for $375K after pot evidence blunted

Matt Chaney//February 25, 2019


A North Carolina motorcyclist who suffered serious injuries after being struck by a vehicle has settled his lawsuit for $375,000 in spite of evidence that the motorcyclist had tested positive for marijuana, his attorneys report.

Bob Karney of The Karney Law Firm in Charlotte reports that an elderly driver turned left in front of Karney’s client, causing him to crash into the driver’s car. The plaintiff suffered a fractured femur, fractured ribs, bilateral pelvic fractures, several spinal fractures, and a lacerated spleen.


Many details about the case, including the identities of the parties and the date and location of the crash, were withheld pursuant to a confidentiality agreement.

Karney said that liability for the crash was hotly contested due to his client’s regular marijuana use and the hilly road conditions in the area around the crash site, which the defense contended blocked the driver’s line of sight.

The plaintiff had difficulty finding an attorney, Karney said, because of the marijuana issue. In depositions, Karney advised his client to be forthcoming about his marijuana use. The plaintiff’s also consulted a scientist who said it was unlikely the defense could prove intoxication, much less that it contributed to the crash.

After both sides filed motions for partial summary judgment on liability, the judge asked both parties to draft an order denying summary judgment. In doing so, the judge said that the only issue was the line-of-sight question, which the plaintiff’s counsel interpreted as a signal that arguments about marijuana use were off the table.

While the parties waited for a ruling, the defendant offered to pay $375,000 in personal funds and insurance coverage.


The plaintiff’s side reviewed the line-of-sight question in making their decision to settle. During reenactments with the client at the scene of the crash, the client decided to take the offer, against his attorneys’ advice.

“The plaintiff decided the line of sight was an issue in the driveway he was turning from, and so he decided to settle,” Karney said.

Follow Matt Chaney on Twitter @NCLWChaney


Amount: $375,000

Injuries alleged: Fractured femur, fractured ribs, bilateral pelvic fractures, spinal fractures, lacerated spleen

Case name: Confidential

Court: Confidential

Date of verdict or settlement: August 13, 2018

Attorneys for plaintiff: Bob Karney and Sean Clayton of The Karney Law Firm in Charlotte

Attorneys for defendant: Confidential



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