“Diane Schuler’s husband suing state, brother-in-law over wrong-way Taconic crash”

by Walter Olson on July 27, 2011

“Daniel Schuler, whose wife, Diane Schuler, killed herself and seven others in a wrong-way crash on the Taconic State Parkway is suing the state and his brother-in-law, whose three daughters were victims. Daniel Schuler filed a lawsuit Monday against the state in the New York Court of Claims, arguing that the highway was poorly designed and lacked proper signs.” [White Plains, N.Y. Journal-News] More on the catastrophic crash, which is the subject of a new HBO documentary by Liz Garbus: Bloomberg.

{ 2 trackbacks }

Taconic Wrong-Way Crash: Does State Share Part of the Blame? – New York Personal Injury Law Blog
07.27.11 at 8:36 pm
Taconic Wrong-Way Crash: Does State Share Part of the Blame? – complaint at law
08.10.11 at 6:32 pm

{ 11 comments }

1 Mike 07.27.11 at 10:56 am

I hate these articles because they leave the non-legal reader with the impression that Daniel Schuler is going around suing people.

To be 100% correct, it should say “Daniel Schuler’s insurance company, who paid a big claim related to the accident and has a right of subrogation, filed a lawsuit Monday…”

Not that the insurance companies are awesome or anything, but you see stories all the time like “Six year old girl sues own mother for car accident” which don’t tell the whole story.

2 blhlls 07.27.11 at 11:29 am

Mike, I agree with you that coverage is often misleading. However, this claim is for Mr. Schuler’s damages in connection with the death of his daughter and for his son’s injuries.

3 Hans Bader 07.27.11 at 4:18 pm

This lawsuit is a classic example of why the public should ignore thin-skinned lawyers and bar association leaders who whine about public criticism of lawyers and the legal system, and why people have the right and duty to criticize lawyers and judges for their wrongdoing and folly:

http://www.openmarket.org/2011/07/27/trial-lawyer-sues-father-of-three-children-killed-in-crash-why-the-right-to-criticize-lawyers-is-vital/

4 mike 07.27.11 at 8:47 pm

Regardless of who filed suit, there should be NO cause of action for “poorly designed road” !

5 Ron Miller 07.27.11 at 9:14 pm

Mike, I guess I’m one of those non-legal people too. Because this is no subro claim.

I looked at plaintiffs’ lawyers website who dedicates much of his home page with the subcategory “A word on “frivolous” personal injury lawsuits” and a promise that they will tell you if your claim is frivolous.

If you find the irony of this rich, I would be hard pressed to argue with you.

6 blhlls 07.27.11 at 11:10 pm

In many states there is no public entity liability for general negligence, but there is for a dangerous condition of public property and poor road design can create real danger. For example, a stop sign placed so that approaching drivers cannot see it a sufficient time to react, or such poor visibility at a cross street that one must actually pull into the path of oncoming traffic before visibility is adequate. I would argue that many such suits are absurd, but there are some situations that create a high risk of harm even when drivers are acting reasonably. (Disclaimer, I litigate such suits but always represent the defendant public entity.)

7 Ron Miller 07.28.11 at 9:08 am

At the risk of putting a link in my post, I wrote about Maryland law on this earlier this month:

http://www.marylandinjurylawyerblog.com/2011/07/state_of_maryland_should_put_u_1.html

8 William Nuesslein 07.28.11 at 9:38 am

In the 1980′s the local portion of the Taconic Parkway was two lane each way with poor entrances. Over a ten plus years period the highway was widened to three lanes each way and the entrances were vastly improved. It is a beautiful road. Only a law school graduate would be so stupid as to claim the road did it.

9 tfc 07.30.11 at 6:53 pm

Even if the signage is poor, if you realized you were driving the WRONG WAY on a highway, would you continue down the road for almost TWO MILES at a high rate of speed, or would you immediately get off and onto the shoulder?

And suing the owner of the car? Come on. Are you kidding me? What, he remote controlled the vehicle into oncoming traffic?

Where’s the common sense in our legal system today?

This sort of suit is an outrage that should never make it to a court of law.

10 Virginia 07.31.11 at 5:51 pm

Mike,

These suits are Daniel Schuler’s, not the insurance company.

I speculate whether her insurance company would actually pay the claim given that she was at fault for the accident and all the fatalities. Face it, insurance policies are loaded with reasons to exclude a claim, e.g., suicide, extreme sports (skydiving and such), acts of war and terrorism, and self-inflicted wounds. This would seem like a textbook case of a claim that would be denied.

11 Darren 08.07.11 at 2:33 am

What all of you are forgetting to mention, which is MOST important, is that the Westchester County Medical Examiner, the NY State Police Forensic Sciences Laboratory, and two other private entities, one hired by Dan Schuler himself, all performed FOUR total autopsies on Diane Schuler, the driver. All four autopsies and toxicologies returned the exact same conclusions: Diane Schuler had a blood alcohol content of 0.19, and a THC (marijuana) blood content of 0.113. One quarter (25%) of her stomach contents were ethanol (drinking alcohol). This woman was high, and completely blacked-out drunk. THAT is and will always be the undisputable evidence why she entered the highway the wrong way and drove 1.7 miles the wrong way. Daniel Schuler’s lawsuits are a JOKE. And I trust they will not make it very far in court. He can try to deny it all he wants to. His wife was a drunk who FELL HARD that day and killed everyone involved. It is her fault and no-one elses. It could, however be Mr. Schuler’s fault too if he knew she was a risk to drive and let her drive those kids anyway. If he knew there was potential for her to drink like this, and he let her go, then he is criminally negligent here as well. Now THAT is something he should be retaining a defense attorney for, not this nonsense.

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