Lemley v. WilsonAnnotate this Case
In 2009, Christopher Wilson was working for the City of Sumiton. Christopher and his supervisor, Michael Carr, had been sent to mow grass on Bryan Road. Tony Henderson, the driver of the City's knuckle-boom truck, radioed Carr and asked him and a work crew to come and flag traffic for him while he was operating the knuckle-boom truck on Sullivan Road, "just over the knob." Carr, Christopher, and the crew went to Sullivan Road. While the knuckle-boom truck was backing up, part of it became stuck. The knuckle-boom was sticking out into the road perpendicular to the road; part of it was in the lane of travel on Sullivan Road for traffic coming from Sumiton. Carr testified that, when he received the call from Henderson, it was a situation that had to be attended to immediately and that he and Christopher did not have time to return to Bryan Road to get Christopher's safety vest. At some point, two of the crew who were near Christopher went to the city truck to get cigarettes and weren't monitoring the traffic. Christopher was standing on the side of the road next to the city truck, and he was "kind of" flagging traffic until the crew got their cigarettes. Frank Lemley had gotten off work that afternoon after working 16.5 hours at the Miller Steam Plant. Lemley testified that, as he topped the rise on Sullivan Road, he saw the knuckle-boom truck in the roadway. He testified that Christopher kept going and threw up both hands, thinking that Christopher said "Stop." He testified that he put on his brakes as soon as he saw Christopher and that he "locked [his] truck down and slid 23 feet." Lemley was not able to stop in time, and his vehicle struck Christopher, who later died of his injuries. Terry Wilson, Christopher's father, filed a wrongful-death action against Lemley. The defendant, Frank Lemley, appealed a trial court order granting Terry's motion for a new trial filed after a jury had returned a verdict in his favor. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, concluding that the jury was presented with conflicting evidence. "When the evidence is viewed in a light most favorable to Lemley and all reasonable inferences the jury was free to draw are indulged, it is easily perceivable from the record that the jury verdict in favor of Lemley as to the negligence and wantonness claims was supported by the evidence."