September 19, 2020

Rep. Paul Ryan and Chief of Staff sued over car crash

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Paul-RyanBy Zoe Tillman, Legal Times
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, and his chief of staff, Kevin Seifert, face a $100,000 lawsuit over a car accident Seifert was involved in while driving Ryan’s car last year. The U.S. Department of Justice argues that Ryan and Seifert are immune against claims related to the accident and is asking for dismissal of the case.
Ryan was not in the car at the time of the accident but owned the vehicle.
The DOJ acknowledged Seifert was involved in the February 2014 accident, which occurred on Interstate Route 395 in Washington. In papers filed on Tuesday asking for dismissal of the case, the government said Seifert and Ryan were shielded by sovereign immunity. Seifert was “acting within the scope of his employment” at the time of the accident, the DOJ said.
A spokesman for Ryan, Robert Swift, said in an email: “This is a routine process for matters involving House employees acting in the scope of their duties and is being handled by the U.S. Department of Justice and House counsel.”
Santos Perez and Adan Bamaca Cajas filed suit against Ryan and Seifert in January in the District of Columbia Superior Court. The Justice Department moved the case to the federal district court in Washington on Monday and filed papers the next day asking the judge to dismiss the claims.
According to the complaint, on Feb. 25, 2014, Seifert allegedly rear-ended the car that Perez was driving while Perez was stopped on the road because of traffic. Cajas was a passenger in Perez’s car. Perez and Cajas accused Seifert of being a negligent driver, claiming he failed to keep a safe distance behind their car and failed to operate his car “at a safe and reasonable speed,” among other things.
Seifert’s lawyer, John O’Neill Jr., of Rockville, Maryland, has denied the allegations of negligence. In papers filed last month in Superior Court, O’Neill said Perez and Cajas’ claims were barred by Perez’ “contributory negligence.” O’Neill was not immediately reached for comment on Tuesday,
Perez and Cajas are seeking $50,000 in damages for each of the two negligence claims included in the complaint. Both men claimed they suffered a concussion and other injuries in the accident. Their lawyer, Matthew Tievsky of Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, was not immediately available for comment.
In addition to the immunity arguments, the Justice Department said Perez and Cajas failed to exhaust the required administrative channels for filing claims before filing their lawsuit.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge James Boasberg. No hearings are scheduled yet.
IMAGE: Paul Ryan. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/NLJ
For more on this story go to: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/legaltimes/id=1202720278048/Rep-Paul-Ryan-and-Chief-of-Staff-Sued-Over-Car-Crash#ixzz3UB2eREvE

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