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Pohl v. County of Furnas

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
682 F.3d 745 (2012)



Juston Pohl (plaintiff), a resident of Michigan, was driving one night on unfamiliar roadways in rural Nebraska in an attempt to reach a friend’s farmhouse when he ran off of the road, hit an embankment, and the car rolled down a hill. Pohl suffered serious injuries. At the time, Pohl was traveling approximately 63 miles per hour, in a 50 mile per hour zone. He did not see the posted sign warning of a sharp curve in the road ahead. Pohl filed a diversity suit for negligence in federal district court against the County of Furnas (the County) (defendant) for its improper placement of the warning sign and failure to maintain the sign. At trial, an expert for Pohl testified that the warning sign was severely deficient and failed to adhere to standards set by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The expert further testified that the warning sign was heavily scratched and, consequently, lacked the necessary retro-reflection to provide oncoming drivers with adequate notice of the curve in the road. The district court found the County negligent in its failure to maintain the warning sign and Pohl negligent in driving 13 miles over the speed limit. The court allocated 60 percent of the negligence to the County and 40 percent to Pohl. Pohl was awarded damages, which were reduced by his comparative negligence. The County appealed and Pohl cross-appealed the district court’s findings.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Murphy, J.)

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