Law School Case Brief
Soldano v. United States - 453 F.3d 1140 (9th Cir. 2006)
Matters of scientific and professional judgment--particularly judgments concerning safety--are rarely considered to be susceptible to social, economic, or political policy.
Plaintiffs, a husband and wife, sued defendant United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C.S. § 1346(b), for damages arising out of a serious motorcycle accident that occurred on a major road in Yosemite National Park. Plaintiffs faulted the government for the negligent placement of traffic signs, among other things, and alleged that the dangerous condition of the roadway was the proximate cause of their injuries. The district court granted summary judgment against the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs appealed.
Did the district court err in dismissing the negligent maintenance claim of plaintiffs?
The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing the negligent maintenance claim because plaintiffs provided no evidence to describe or depict the vegetation at issue and how it obscured vision at the time of the collision and instead merely relied on their expert's general statements of vegetation overgrowth without supporting underlying facts. The court observed that the expert's conclusions were merely based on his observations of vegetation overgrowth four years after the accident.
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