Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals issued a memorandum decision, uncitable as authority under App. R. 65(D), in which the Court disagreed over the extent to which admissions could be used against a party in a motion for summary judgment in Clark v. Clark, Cause No. 01A02-1007-CT-759. While the decision itself cannot be used as precedent, the disagreement is informative.
In this case, a father and son traveled in a car together to the home of another person. When they arrived, the son got out of the car to help the father parallel park. The son positioned himself in front of his father’s vehicle, between it and another vehicle parked in the alley. When the father’s vehicle was in the appropriate position, the son signaled for the father to stop by putting his hand up. The father hit the gas pedal instead of the brake, and the son was pinned between his father’s vehicle and the parked vehicle. The son sustained serious injuries to his leg. He brought suit against his father for his injuries and the father asserted the Indiana Guest Statute as an affirmative defense.
The Indiana Guest Statute provides that people with certain types of relationships, such as father-son, cannot sue each other for injuries arising out of the operation of a motor vehicle if the person is “in or upon” the vehicle at the time of the injuries. During the course of the litigation, the son sent requests for admissions to the father. Two of those requests and responses are reproduced below.