Retrial ordered in Midshipman accident suit

October 29, 1999|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The state's second-highest court set aside a jury award of $759,500 yesterday and ordered a new trial to resolve a dispute over a 1993 traffic accident in which a bicycle ridden by a Naval Academy midshipman preparing for a triathlon and a truck collided.

The Court of Special Appeals found fault with several decisions by Anne Arundel Circuit Judge Lawrence H. Rushworth, who presided over the trial in which Midshipman First Class Frederick W. Piquette had sought damages.

The appeals court said Rushworth incorrectly allowed the jury to consider Piquette's request to recover medical expenses since the federal government, which paid for his care, had settled with the insurer for driver Seth H. Stevens.

The appeals court also disagreed with Rushworth's opinion that, as a point of law, the midshipman should have realized that he was putting himself at risk by not coming to a full stop before turning onto Crownsville Road.

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