Proximate Cause

Dottie Hughes, etc. v. Marley, [Ms. SC-2023-0009, Aug. 25, 2023] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2023). The Court (Cook, J.; Parker, C.J., and Wise, Sellers, and Stewart, JJ., concur) affirms the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court’s summary judgment dismissing an action for the wrongful death of Willie Hughes, Sr., alleging that Willie’s death from sepsis on March 5, 2018, resulted from injuries suffered in an automobile crash caused by Marjahn Andreise Marley (“Marley”) on September 11, 2017.

In affirming, the Court holds

… [E]ven assuming that Dr. Sheppard’s testimony acknowledged the possibility that seatbelt trauma sustained in an automobile accident could lead to the development of sepsis months later, Dr. Sheppard expressly denied that any accident-related trauma had caused Willie’s sepsis in this case. Importantly, “‘“the mere possibility that the negligence of [the] defendant caused the injury without evidence thereof, is not sufficient to carry the case to the jury, or to support a verdict.”’” Thrasher, 655 So. 2d at 961 (quoting Bryant, 226 Ala. at 254 , 146 So. at 605, quoting in turn Koger v. Roden Coal Co., 197 Ala. 473, 476, 73 So. 33, 34 (1917)); see also Ex parte Diversey Corp., 742 So. 2d 1250, 1254 (Ala. 1999) (“Proof which goes no further than to show an injury could have occurred in an alleged way, does not warrant the conclusion that it did so occur, where from the same proof the injury can with equal probability be attributed to some other cause.” (citations omitted)).

Ms. *13, some internal quotation marks omitted.

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