Dubiel v. Mont. Dep't of TranspAnnotate this Case
Jerome Dubiel (Jerome) was traveling on a Montana highway during a high wind event that caused numerous trees to blow down. Jerome was stopped temporarily by a Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) employee who was clearing highway debris when a tree fell on Jerome's car, inflicting a fatal injury. Keevy, Jerome's wife (Dubiel), sued MDT, claiming it had negligently failed to close the highway prior to Jerome's death. Dubiel did not retain an expert to establish MDT's standard of care regarding highway safety under the circumstances leading to Jerome's death. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of MDT, finding that expert testimony was required in this case to establish the standard of care to which MDT was required to conform under the circumstances. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting MDT's motion for summary judgment on the ground that Dubiel could not prove the applicable standard of care and breach thereof without expert testimony.