DOVER, N.H, (CNN/WMUR) –A lawsuit against a Massachusetts transportation company that employed a man involved in a fatal motorcycle crash in Randolph will be going forward.
Westfield Transport was seeking to have the lawsuit related to a crash that killed seven people dismissed. But a Strafford County Superior Court judge rejected their arguments Thursday.
The lawsuit is being brought by a woman who lost her partner, Albert Mazza, in the June 21, 2019, crash. Mary Lou Welch was following in a vehicle behind the riders. She said she heard a big explosion and saw bikes all over the road.
The lawsuit is seeking damages for emotional distress. A memorial now marks the spot in Randoplh where seven motorcycle riders were killed.
Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, an employee of Westfield Transport at the time, has been charged with seven counts of negligent homicide and pleaded not guilty in the case.
In seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, the lawyer for the company said, in part: “It is not reasonable … that Westfield’s hiring and employment of Mr. Zhukovskyy proximately caused the collision, from which her purported emotional injury flows.
In rejecting that argument, the judge noted Zhukovskyy’s long history of motor vehicle violations, including two arrests on charges of drunken driving.
“(Westfield) either knew or should have known about Mr. Zhukovskyy’s dangerous history behind the wheel,” the judge ruled, adding that “purported negligence in hiring Mr. Zhukovskyy was the proximate cause of the collision.”
The trucking company also claimed that a New Hampshire Supreme Court decision limiting liability to bystanders who suffer emotional harm applies in this case. But the judge called that a misreading of the decision.
The judge ruled that the person bringing the lawsuit does not have to actually witness the accident happen, but rather be close enough to hear it happen and see its immediate aftermath.
The plaintiff’s lawyer was unavailable to comment, and calls to the trucking company went unanswered.
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