James Archibald was a diabetes patient who had called his wife to say he was coming home from work early because he was feeling ill. Archibald was driving along a westbound rural road in southern Illinois at about 9 p.m. Suddenly, he encountered a hazard: A tractor-trailer owned by Orbit Express was blocking both lanes; other westbound drivers had managed to avoid the tractor-trailer.
A few hours earlier, the Orbit Express truck driver tried to turn around and got stuck when a rear tire on his big rig went into a ditch. Although the tractor’s headlights made it look like it was moving east, the trailer completely obstructed the westbound lane. Archibald reportedly crashed into the trailer at full speed, with no swerving or breaking. He died a few months later; before his death, he had been unable to explain what had happened.
Orbit Express moved for summary judgment on this tort claim filed by Archibald’s widow. Orbit Express focused on the causation requirement.