Following three days of trial in the Circuit Court of Maryland for Charles County, Michael Sloneker, obtained judgment on behalf of the school board in the matter of Neverson v. The Board of Education of Charles County. Ms. Neverson, bringing the lawsuit on her own behalf and on behalf of her two sons, alleged that a motorist left the road, jumped the curb and struck her children waiting at the bus stop, which was in a dangerous and improper location. In the liability-only trial, Plaintiffs maintained that the Board of Education should not have placed a bus stop in the location at issue and contended that, if the bus stop were in a different location, Plaintiffs would not have suffered injuries. In support of their claims, Plaintiffs presented their own testimony, testimony from neighbors who lived near the school bus stop, the individual who struck the students, as well as a civil traffic engineer.
Notwithstanding, after Plaintiffs concluded their case-in-chief, Mr. Sloneker moved for judgment arguing that the evidence presented, even drawing all inferences in Plaintiffs favor, did not establish that the Board's supposed negligence was the proximate cause of the accident. The Court agreed and entered judgment in favor of the Board. Judge Nalley concluded, based upon the Plaintiffs' evidence, that there was nothing the Board could have done to prevent the accident. He determined that the collision was caused by the negligent and unforeseeable actions of the driver who struck the Plaintiffs.
Mr. Sloneker was prepared to introduce evidence to prove that the bus stop, at that same location for over thirty years, was reasonable and satisfied all local, state and national guidelines and criteria for the establishment of school bus stops. In addition, they intended to demonstrate that the driver of the car was impaired, and that the bus stop location and road configuration had nothing to do with the accident. Nevertheless, the Court correctly dismissed Plaintiffs claims before they had to put on their case.