Texting and Driving Lawsuit Seeks to Hold Non-Driving Sender of Text Liable

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The dangers of texting and driving. Civil liability opens the door to lawsuits.

A Pennsylvania court has dismissed a lawsuit against a man who was texting another driver that was involved in a fatal crash. The dismissal was based on the testimony that the sender of the text did not driver/recipient was driving at the time.


The deadly accident occurred in 2013. Daniel Gallatin was riding his motorcycle when he was hit by the SUV of Laura Gargiulo, who pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter, texting while driving, and careless driving. Her only punishment for taking the life of another was sixty days in jail plus sixty days more with work release, then house arrest and probation according to New Castle News. She also has to speak as part of her community service hours at schools on the dangers of distracted driving.

Gallatin’s family filed a lawsuit against Ms. Gargiulo and Timothy Fend, the person who she was texting with. The legal theory of the lawsuit is based on a similar case that ended up in the Appeals Court of New Jersey. That case also involved motorcycle riders that were sideswiped by a truck driver that was distracted by using his phone to text.

While the case was dismissed at the Appellate level because the facts involved did not provide sufficient evident that the sender of the text knew the recipient was driving, it did state that one can be held liable if they know the recipient was driving. See Kubert v. Best.

Alexander Hernandez, Esq.

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