SUMMARY JUDGMENT -- GUEST STATUTE - NEAL V. SEM RAY, INC.
In Neal v. Sem Ray, Inc., [Ms. 2091068, Feb. 11, 2011] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. Civ. App. 2011), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed a trial court's entry of partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants. The plaintiff, Neal, was a passenger in a dump truck being operated by her cousin, who was an employee of Sem Ray. The dump truck turned over and Neal was injured. Neal sued alleging various claims of negligence and wantonness. The defendants moved for summary judgment arguing that Neal was a guest in the dump truck within the meaning of the Alabama Guest Statute when she was injured. The trial court entered an order granting summary judgment on Neal's negligence claims. On appeal, Neal argued that there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding whether she was a guest in the dump truck within the meaning of the Alabama Guest Statute because she was only in the dump truck at the instance of her cousin for a purpose that benefited Sem Ray. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals held that the only benefit Neal conferred was companionship, and, therefore, she was a guest in the dump truck as a matter of law. The Court affirmed the partial summary judgment in favor of the defendants.