Past Midnight on May 5, 2011, a tractor-trailer driven by Jerry O’Reilly, an employer of Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co., was driving in Georgia on I-285 in a Westbound Lane. At the same time and driving in the same direction as Mr. O’Reilly, Ms. Kristen Meredit, age 41, was driving her compact sedan when suddenly O’Reilly’s tractor-trailer attempted a lane change and in doing so clipped the driver’s side of Ms. Meredit’s car causing it to flip over many times, and finally come to rest on the shoulder of the road.
Injured, Ms. Meredit was taken by ambulance to a hospital where she underwent surgery later on her lower back to fuse her vertebrae.
In April, 2013, Ms. Meredith filed a lawsuit in DeKalb County State Court against Defendant truck driver Mr. Jerry O’Really and his employer Try Hours and National Interstate Insurance Co. alleging negligence on the part of both Defendants and seeking more than $ 75,000 in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages.
The case was moved to Federal Court in the Northern District of Georgia, a month after it was filed in State Court, since both GA State and Superior Courts lacked jurisdiction over the parties, and only the Federal Court had jurisdiction over the parties in the case since, although the accident happened in Georgia, all of the defendants resided out of state; this is called Diversity of Jurisdiction
In court pleadings, the Defendant claimed that the Plaintiff caused the crash even though the Defendant was cited at the crash for Improper Lane Change and later pled guilty, and paid a fine. The ticket and plea, however, were not the defining moments in the case.
Later, during depositions, Defendant O’Reilly denied using a phone, computer, or camera while driving. He later changed his testimony, however, and admitted that he took photos when he was driving after he was presented with dozens of photographs from his Facebook page.