Macon County Chronicle

$3,500,000 Wrongful Death Lawsuit Following Fatal Wreck

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Michael Scruggs, Jr.

On Wednesday, September 16, 2015, Mr. Michael Eugene Scruggs, Jr., age 36, of Westmoreland, died at Vanderbilt Medical Center from injuries sustained earlier that day on Highway 52 West, in Macon County, when 26-year-old Amy Aulick, of Lafayette, attempted to illegally pass a Chevy Silverado and struck the Mercury Sabre he was operating head on. 

 The Scruggs’ family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Macon County, Tennessee.


The lawsuit reads:


FILED IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR MACON COUNTY, TENNESSEEM CO N COUNTY AT LAFAYETTE

KEMBERLY MESHA ROGERS, individually; and as next friend & f/b/o MICHAEL EUGENE SCRUGGS, III (a minor) and LIBERTY M. SCRUGGS (a minor), the surviving childen of MICHAEL EUGENE SCRUGGS, JUNIOR, Deceased, and as next friend for LIBERTY M. SCRUGGS, a minor,20150C_ -6 /H 8:05

Plaintiffs,

vs.

AMY NICOLE AULICK and JEREMY AULICK,

Defendants.


COMPLAINT 

Come the plaintiffs, Kemberly Mesha Rogers, individually and as the next friend and parent of Michael Eugene Scruggs, III and Liberty M. Scruggs, both of whom are minor children

and the natural children of the decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior. Together they file this civil action for tort damages in accordance with common law negligence and in accordance with the Tennessee Wrongful Death statute codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §20-5-106 et seq. Plaintiffs

sue the defendants Amy Aulick and Jeremy Aulick for damages. For cause it would be shown

the following:

I. PARTIES

1. The plaintiff Kemberly Mesha Rogers is a resident and citizen of Westmoreland, Tennessee. She is the natural mother of Michael Eugene Scruggs, III and Liberty M. Scruggs, both of whom are minor children.

The plaintiff's decedent is Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior. He was the natural father of Michael Eugene Scruggs, III and Liberty M. Scruggs.

Upon information and belief the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick is a resident and citizen of Macon County, Tennessee with a residence located at 207 Trent Road in Lafayette, Tennessee.

Upon information and belief the defendant Amy Aulick is a resident and citizen of Macon County, Tennessee with a residence located at 207 Trent Road in Lafayette, Tennessee. II. FACTS

State Highway 52 is a two lane highway that is not divided going east and west in Macon County, Tennessee and it provides for motor vehicle travel.

At or near the location of the collision at issue in this civil action there is painted upon the pavement of State Highway 52 solid double yellow lines that prohibit motor vehicles from passing one another because to do so would be especially hazardous.

These double yellow lines or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.

On September 16, 2015 the plaintiff's decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior operated a 2000 Mercury Sabre bearing Vehicle Identification Number 1MEFM50U6YA608009 in a westerly direction on Highway 52. The time was approximately 2:40 p.m.

Inside of the Mercury Sabre the plaintiff Kemberly Mesha Rogers rode as a passenger with Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior, along with their minor child Liberty M. Scruggs.

On the same date and at the same time the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick operated a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer motor vehicle bearing Vehicle Identification Number 1GNDS13S052113478 traveling east on State Highway 96.

Upon information and belief the motor vehicle described in paragraph 10 is and/or was owned by both defendants and it was kept and maintained by these defendants for the use and benefit and convenience of the family members to include Jeremy Aulick.

Suddenly and without warning the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick negligently and with reckless disregard drove across the clearly marked double yellow lines of State Highway 52

and caused the front of the Trailblazer motor vehicle she operated to strike head on the front of the Mercury Sabre operated by the plaintiff's decedent Michael Eugene, Junior.

An horrific collision occurred as the two vehicles collided. The collision caused the plaintiff's decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior to suffer severe, painful and disabling

personal injuries that required hospitalization, extensive medical attention with attendant costs and other damages.

As a result of the injuries inflicted upon him the plaintiff's decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior died later the same day at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after having suffered great physical and mental pain.

The collision caused the plaintiffs Kemberly Mesha Rogers and Liberty M. Scruggs to each one suffer severe, painful personal injuries that required extensive medical attention with

attendant costs and other damages.

The collision described herein was caused by the negligent acts and/or omissions of

the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick.

"17. The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick III is 100% responsible and legally liable for causing the collision of September 16, 2015 in Lafayette, Tennessee.

18. The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick had the responsibility to drive within a single lane of travel and to watch for traffic on the roadway to avoid striking another motor vehicle as she

was driving on State Highway 52 in Lafayette, Tennessee.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick failed to keep and maintain a proper lookout for traffic to avoid endangering life, limb or property on State Highway 52 immediately before causing the collision with the motor vehicle occupied by plaintiff's decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior, Kemberly Mesha Rogers and Liberty M. Scruggs.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick negligently and recklessly operated her motor vehicle described in paragraph 10 with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or

property as he drove too fast for the conditions that existed then and there at that time.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick negligently and recklessly operated her motor vehicle described in paragraph 10 with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property. As she drove she undertook to pass the motor vehicle ahead of her and she passed it while crossing a clearly marked double yellow line painted upon the highway.

III. ACTS AND/OR OMISSIONS OF NEGLIGENCE

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick owed a duty of reasonable care to the plaintiffs

and to the plaintiffs' decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick breached the legal duty of reasonable care and was

negligent in one or more of the following ways in that she:

Failed to maintain a proper following distance from the other vehicle or vehicles

in front of her on the roadway;

Failed to operate the motor vehicle she occupied with due care and under reasonable control;

Failed to maintain a reasonably safe speed under the existing conditions;

Failed to maintain her motor vehicle in a single lane of travel and undertook to pass another motor vehicle in a zone clearly marked for no passing;

Failed to keep a proper lookout under the existing circumstances; and

Failed to see that which was there to be seen and to react reasonably under the circumstances.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulickwas negligent per se in that she violated one or more of the following statutes of the State of Tennessee which were in full force and effect at the time of the collision:

Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-136: Due Care;

(b) Notwithstanding any speed limit or zone in effect at the time, or right of way rules that may be applicable, every driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care to avoid colliding with any other motor vehicle, either being driven or legally parked, upon any roadway, or any road sign, guard rail of any fixed object legally placed within or beside the roadway right of way, by operating the motor vehicle at a safe speed, by maintaining a safe lookout, by keeping the motor vehicle under proper control and by devoting full time and attention to operating the motor vehicle, under the existing circumstances to avoid endangering life, limb or property.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick drove her vehicle to the left side of the center of the roadway in face of oncoming traffic where there was insufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking safely, which conduct constituted negligence per se and a violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-117: Overtaking and passing;

The following rules shall govern the overtaking and *sing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to those limitations, exceptions and special rules hereinafter stated:

The driver of a vehicle overtaking another vehicle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left thereof at a safe distance and shall not again drive to the right side of the roadway until safely clear of the overtaken vehicle; and

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is permitted, the driver of an overtaken vehicle shall give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle on audible signal and shall not increase the speed of the overtaken vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick drove her vehicle in an effort to overtake and pass a motor vehicle ahead of him in an area where it was not safe to do so which conduct constituted negligence per se and a violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-119: Driving on Left Side of Roadway in Overtaking and Passing;

No vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction, unless the left side is clearly visible and is free from oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction or any vehicle overtaken. In every event the overtaking vehicle must return to the right-hand side of the roadway before coming within one hundred feet (100') of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick failed to maintain her motor vehicle within a single lane of travel and she moved the same from one lane of travel to the other without first ascertaining that said movement could be made safely which constituted negligence per se and in violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-123: Traffic lanes;

Whenever any roadway has been divided into two (2) or more clearly marked lanes for traffic, the following rules, in addition to all others consistent with this section, shall apply:

(1) A vehicle shall be driven as nearly as practicable entirely within a single lane and shall not be moved from that lane until the driver has first ascertained that the movement can be made with safety.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick negligently and with reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs' decedent undertook to pass another motor vehicle in a "No Passing Zone" which constituted negligence per se and a violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. §55-8-121. No passing zones;

The department of transportation is authorized to determine those portions of any highway where overtaking and passing or driving to the left of the roadway would be especially hazardous and may by appropriate signs or markings on the roadway indicate the beginning and end of those zones. When these signs or markings are in place and clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person, every driver of a vehicle shall obey the directions thereof.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick negligently and with reckless disregard for the safety of the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs' decedent followed another motor vehicle in front of her own motor vehicle more closely than is prudent which constituted negligence per se and a violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-8-124. Following another vehicle;

(a) The driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of the vehicles and the traffic upon and the

condition of the highway.

The defendant Amy Nicole Aulick operated her motor vehicle with a conscious disregard of the known risk of harming other persons when she undertook to pass in a "No Passing Zone" which constituted negligence per se and a violation of:

Tenn. Code Ann. § 55-10-205. Reckless driving;

(a) Any person who drives any vehicle in willful or wanton disregard for the safety of persons or property commits reckless driving.

As a direct and proximate result of the negligent acts and/or omissions of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick the plaintiffs and the plaintiffs' decedent Michael Eugene Scruggs, Junior were each one caused to suffer painful bodily injuries and other damages. that ultimately led to his death.

At all times the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick was operating the motor vehicle described in paragraph 10 for the use and benefit of Jeremy Aulick such that he is vicariously liable for the negligent acts and/or omissions of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick in accordance with the Family Purpose Doctrine. As such, any negligence of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick is imputed to Jerethy, Aulick.

Alternatively, the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick operated the motor vehicle described in paragraph 10 as an agent for the use and benefit of Jeremy Aulick, the principal, and upon his business such that he is vicariously liable under a theory of a principal/agent relationship. As such, any negligence of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick is imputed to Jeremy Aulick.

IV. WRONGFUL DEATH DAMAGES

The plaintiff Kemberly Mesha Rogers sues in her capacity as the next friend and for the benefit of the decedent's surviving children Michael Eugene Scruggs, III and Liberty M. Scruggs for all damages allowable under the Tennessee Wrongful Death statute codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §20-5-106, et seq. and any other remedy available at common law or statutory law.

The plaintiffs sue for the mental and physical suffering, medical expenses related to the treatment of the plaintiff's decedent before his death, funeral expenses and any and all damages resulting to the parties whose use and benefit the right of action survives to include: the pecuniary value of the decedent's life, loss of consortium and loss of services.

As a direct and proximate result of the negligent acts and/or omissions of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick the plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages from one or more of the defendants in her own right and/or for the decedent for the following:

a) Any and all applicable special damages or Economic Damages as defined by 
Tenn. Code Ann. §29-39-101(1) including:

objectively verifiable pecuniary damages arising from medical expenses and medical care,

rehabilitation services,

mental health treatment,

custodial care,

loss of earnings and earning capacity,

loss of income,

burial costs,

loss of use of property,

repair or replacement of property,

obtaining substitute domestic services,

loss of employment,

loss of business or employment opportunities, and

other objectively verifiable monetary losses;

b) Any and all applicable Noneconomic Damages as defined by Tenn. Code Ann.

§29-39-101(2) including:

physical and emotional pain;

suffering;

inconvenience;

physical impairment;

disfigurement;

mental anguish;

emotional distress;

loss of society,

companionship, and consortium;

injury to reputation;

humiliation;

noneconomic effects of disability, including loss of enjoyment of normal activities,

benefits and pleasures of life and loss of mental or physical health,

well-being or bodily functions; and

all other nonpecuniary losses of any kind or nature.

c) Any and all applicable damages as defined by Tenn. Code Ann. § 20-5-113.

V. COMPENSATORY DAMAGES

The plaintiff Kemberly Mesha Rogers sues in her individual capacity and as the next friend and for the benefit of her minor child Liberty M. Scruggs.

Each of these plaintiffs sue for:

a) Any and all applicable special damages or Economic Damages as defined by 
Tenn. Code Ann. §29-39-101(1) including:

objectively verifiable pecuniary damages arising from medical expenses and medical care,

rehabilitation services,

mental health treatment,

custodial care,

loss of earnings and earning capacity,

repair or replacement of property,

obtaining substitute domestic services, and;

any other objectively verifiable monetary losses;

b) Any and all applicable Noneconomic Damages as defined by Tenn. Code Ann.

§29-39-101(2) including:

physical and emotional pain;

suffering;

inconvenience;

physical impairment;

disfigurement;

mental anguish;

emotional distress;

loss of society

companionship, and consortium;

injury to reputation;

humiliation;

noneconomic effects of disability, including loss of enjoyment of normal activities,

benefits and pleasures of life and loss of mental or physical health,

well-being or bodily functions; and

all other nonpecuniary losses of any kind or nature.

VI. RELIEF SOUGHT

WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, the Plaintiffs sue the defendant and together they demand judgment against her for compensatory damages in an amount up to Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000.00) or in an amount to be determined by a jury of twelve (12) peers under the law and evidence. Due to the reckless conduct of the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick as set forth herein the plaintiffs sue the defendant Amy Nicole Aulick for punitive damages in an amount totaling One Million Dollars ($1,000,000.00). The Plaintiffs further demand any such general relief to which they may each one be entitled to receive under the law and evidence.

Respectfully submitted,

GRIFFITH & ROBERTS, PLLC