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Allstate Insurance Company v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company No. 43, Sept. Term, 2000 - page 5 / 26





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sped up a bit to be able to slide into the right lane ahead of that car when he heard Gregorie’s warning.

Winston said thathe had been driving about 55 miles an hour when he hit the brakes. He stated that he

had not noticed Kirby’s car before then. In contrast to Gregorie, Winston said that he saw brake lights

and believed that Kirby had on her headlights as well. Kirby was driving, he said, at a very low rate of


The onlyindependent witness in the case, Linda Weiner, was driving just behind Winston, in the

second lane, at about 55 miles per hour. In a statement given to State Farm several weeks after the

accident, she said that she observed Kirby’s car, that it was proceeding very slowly, and perhaps was even

stopped, and that its hazard lights were on. She did not recall any problem with ice on the road. Sensing

the imminence of a collision between Winston and Kirby, she pulled immediately to the right and was just

able to avoid a collision herself. Based on the witness statements taken from Kirby and Weiner, State

Farm concluded that, as Kirby had been rear-ended, there was no liability on her part.

The litigation began in January, 1995, when Gregorie iled suit against Winston in the Circuit Court

for Prince George’s County, seeking $1 million in damages. She claimed that he failed to maintain a proper

lookout, to yield the right of way, to operate his vehicle at a safe speed, to maintain a safe distance between

his vehicle and the one in front,and otherwise to operate the vehicle safely and in accordance with traf ic

regulations. Winston’s negligent and reckless operation of the vehicle, she averred, directly and

proximatelyresulted in the collision and caused her injury. Kirby then iled suit against Winston to recover

damages forher injuries. That complaint does not seem to be in the record, but we assume that, in similar

fashion to Gregorie’s complaint, it claimed that Winston was negligent in various respects and that his

negligence caused the collision.

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