Ellinwood v. CohenAnnotate this Case
Scott Cohen’s vehicle collided with the rear of Antonio Soares’s stopped vehicle because Cohen's vision was temporarily impaired by the glare from the morning sun. Cohen waved to Kris Ellinwood, a police officer who was directing traffic at the time, to approach the scene. Cohen assured Ellinwood that everyone was unharmed but did not mention the sun glare. Ellinwood was writing down information in between Cohen's and Soares's vehicles when Andrew Thornley, who did not see Cohen’s vehicle due to solar glare, struck the rear of Cohen’s vehicle, causing Ellinwood to be pinned between Cohen’s and Soares’s vehicles and crushing his legs. Ellinwood filed an action against Cohen, alleging that Cohen negligently failed to warn him of the solar glare, a dangerous condition. The superior court granted Cohen’s motion for summary judgment, concluding that the public safety officer’s rule shielded Cohen from liability. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the public-safety officer’s rule barred Ellinwood’s negligence claim as a matter of law because Ellinwood could have reasonably foreseen that he could be struck and injured by another vehicle while coming to Cohen’s assistance.