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Liberty v. United States

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

April 27, 2017

DAVID F. LIBERTY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

         Plaintiff David Liberty (Liberty) brought the instant action against Defendant United States of America (Government) and included in its complaint a negligence claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA), 28 U.S.C. § 1346(b). On January 19, 2017, a bench trial commenced to address the liability and damages issues in this case. The court has reviewed all admissible evidence in this case and enters the following findings of facts and conclusions of law:

         FINDINGS OF FACT

         I. Negligence Claim

         1. On January 8, 2015, Angel Torres (Torres) was driving a United States Postal Service (USPS) vehicle as an employee of the USPS. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5).

         2. On January 8, 2015, Torres worked out of the USPS office located at 909 W. Euclid Avenue in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and delivered the mail six days a week, and had the same delivery route for the past five years. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5).

         3. On January 8, 2015, snow was on the ground and the streets were slippery and icy. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5).

         4. On January 8, 2015, at approximately 9:00a.m., Liberty was riding his Miyata mountain bicycle southbound on Ridge Avenue in Arlington Heights. (Tr. 14, 17).

         5. On January 8, 2015, at approximately 9:00a.m., Liberty was riding his bicycle in the middle of the residential street. (Tr. 17).

         6. On January 8, 2015, at approximately 9:00a.m., Torres was operating the USPS truck westbound on Oakton Avenue. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5).

         7. On January 8, 2015, at approximately 9:00a.m., Torres approached the intersection of Oakton Avenue and Ridge Avenue. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5).

         8. On January 8, 2015, at approximately 9:00a.m., Torres slowed his vehicle, took a right turn onto Ridge Avenue, and traveled northbound on Ridge Avenue. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 5, 6).

         9. Before Torres could completely turn his vehicle onto Ridge Avenue, he saw a bicyclist going south on Ridge Avenue. (Tr. 75).

         10. Because of the snow, Torres was not driving very fast. (Govt. Mot. Ex. A, 7).

         11. Liberty was operating his bicycle in the middle of Ridge Avenue, which was against oncoming traffic. (Tr. 57-59).

         12. Torres honked his horn approximately seven times in order to notify Liberty that he was getting close to the USPS truck. (Tr. 79).

         13. Liberty continued traveling straight (towards the vehicle Torres was driving) and made contact in the center of the front of the USPS vehicle, which was not moving at the time of the collision. (Tr. 56, 80-81).

         14. After colliding with the front of the USPS truck, Liberty went over his bicycle's handlebars ...


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