Clay woman says oil spill led to accident

By Kelly Holleran | Feb 26, 2009

CHARLESTON -– A Clay County woman alleges she was seriously injured after a woman who had slipped on oil collided with her vehicle and caused it to roll over an embankment.

Michelle Renee Foster originally filed suit Dec. 18 in Clay Circuit Court against Boxley Materials and the unknown driver that caused the oil spill on the road.

At the time of the incident, Michelle Foster claims she was a passenger in a 1997 Grand Am her husband, Jesse Foster, was driving on Jan. 12, 2007, at 2:45 p.m.

Jesse Foster was driving near the intersection of Route 10 and Independent Road near Lizemores, the suit states.

At the same time, Carol Lee Brown was driving on Independent Road in the opposite direction of the Fosters.

As Brown approached a turn on the road, her vehicle passed over a significant amount of spilled oil or diesel fuel and caused her to lose control of her vehicle, the Fosters allege.

As a result, Brown's vehicle struck the Foster's vehicle, causing their vehicle to leave the road, roll over an embankment and rest upside-down in a creek, according to the complaint.

Before the accident, a driver for Boxley was driving a 2007 International 7600 truck on Independent Road when a large amount of fuel or oil spilled from it, the suit states.

However, the driver made no attempt to clean the spill or to warn others of the hazard, the Fosters allege.

Because of the accident, Michelle Renee Foster suffered severe injuries to her body and mind and incurred medical expenses, according to the complaint.

She also experienced pain and suffering, physical limitations and permanent impairment, a diminished capacity to enjoy life, annoyance and inconvenience, the suit states.

The driver owed a duty to the public to ensure the equipment on the vehicle he was operating was in good working order, but breached that duty by failing to inspect the truck before driving it, according to the complaint.

Boxley owed a duty to the general public to ensure that equipment on any of its vehicles was in good working order, but negligently furnished its driver with a vehicle not equipped in a safe mechanical condition, the suit states.

Boxley removed the case to federal court because its principal offices are located in Blue Ridge, Va., and Michelle Renee Foster is a resident of Clay County. Therefore a diversity of citizenship exists.

In addition, Michelle Renee Foster is seeking more than $75,000, the company claims in its notice of removal.

In the four-count suit, Michelle Renee Foster is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, attorneys' fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Robert D. Cline, Robert A. Campbell and Drew S. Woods of Farmer, Cline and Campbell in Charleston will be representing Michelle Renee Foster.

Andrew B. Cooke and Susan Wong Romaine of Flaherty, Sensabaugh and Bonasso in Charleston will be representing Boxley.

U.S. District Court case number: 2:09-0081

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