Gray•Duffy Obtains Complete Dismissal After Filing a Motion for Summary Judgment in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

August 2012


Michelle MacDonald of Gray•Duffy’s Encino office obtained a complete dismissal for the firm’s client prior to trial in a wrongful death matter.


Tillery v. Union Pacific Railroad, et al. The plaintiffs are the widow and two minor children of a deceased 35-year-old man who was killed when his vehicle was struck by a train at an unguarded crossing. The decedent was employed as a salesman for a metal building manufacturer. The plaintiffs claimed that Gray•Duffy’s client was responsible for the dangerous condition of its property and failed to warn people of the high-speed train. The plaintiffs further alleged a breach of certain statutory obligations. Prior to the completion of discovery and the depositions of the parties, Gray•Duffy attorney Michelle MacDonald filed a motion for summary judgment asserting that the client did not own, control or maintain the railroad crossing or tracks where the accident occurred, nor did it create the alleged dangerous condition. The plaintiffs then took the deposition of the client’s representative and immediately thereafter, offered to dismiss the litigation with prejudice in exchange for a waiver of costs against the defendant. This dismissal was subject to a good faith finding by the Court and once that occurred, the client was dismissed before the majority of the depositions and other discovery was undertaken by the parties, saving the client considerable litigation expenses.

Please Note: This article is necessarily general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice with respect to any particular case. Readers should consult with an attorney before taking any action affecting their interests.