An Oregon driver is being sued for $3.5 million after he ran over a woman in a grocery store parking lot. According to the court documents, the man was on the “Whole 30” diet plan and was lightheaded when the accident occurred.
On September 21, 2017, Susan Matthies shopped at Safeway grocery store. After she finished her shopping trip, she went out to the parking lot to load the groceries into her car. While she packed her car, Robert Morgan pulled into the parking lot.
According to the lawsuit, Morgan was following a strict diet plan called the “Whole 30.” The suit alleges that Morgan skipped breakfast and lunch on that day. He missed the meals because he was returning home from a trip to Amity, Oregon. At the time of the crash, Morgan was lightheaded and nauseous.
As he arrived at Safeway, he pulled into the parking lot. He failed to see Matthies and he drove into her car. After he hit Matthies’ car, he proceeded to run her over.
After the accident, an ambulance transported the woman to the hospital. She passed away that evening from the injuries she sustained from the car.
Following Matthies’ death, police investigated the accident. Evidence police collected at the scene and through interviews determined that Morgan was not intoxicated nor criminally negligent.
Unsatisfied with the result of the criminal investigation, the family of Matthies decided to file the civil lawsuit against Morgan. Matthies’ estate is suing Morgan for negligence associated with her death.
The suit alleges that Morgan should not have been driving after he became nauseous and lightheaded. Instead of pulling over, the suit says he continued to operate the car despite his “health issues.” Because he was hungry due to his restrictive diet, the estate alleges he was “driving while distracted.”
Matthies’ estate is asking for damages to cover funeral and medical expenses. Additionally, the estate says by losing their loved one they want non-economic damages of $3.0 million. In total, the suit is requesting $3.5 million from Morgan for the unfortunate accident.
While the family has a right to be upset about Matthies death, I’m not sure that the “Whole 30” diet is to blame. Morgan’s hunger wasn’t a result of the diet but rather that he skipped two meals that day. Instead of eating on his trip home, he attempted to hold off until he got to a grocery store.Perhaps the estate is attempting to blame the diet because Morgan would have had a tough time finding food to meet the program’s guidelines. The “Whole 30” diet eliminates many ingredients, drinks, sugar, and grains. Fast food would not have been an option for him on his trip home.
Even with that excuse, the lawsuit seems like a bit of a stretch. Should he have eaten before he left that day? Probably. Was he negligent for continuing to drive while hungry? I don’t know.
With the criminal case already closed, the civil lawsuit is the final attempt of the family to seek justice for their loss. Civil suits have a lower burden of proof than a criminal trial. Therefore, a judge or jury may side with the family.
We will have to see how the case plays out in court. This would be the first documented death associated with the “Whole 30” if the family prevails.
*Katie Joy is a columnist and hosts Without A Crystal Ball on Patheos Non-Religious Channel. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
Watch her daily lives on Facebook and YouTube
Buy Katie Joy a cup of Coffee.
Individuals wishing to help Katie with her expenses can become patrons. Patrons gain exclusive access to stories, new projects, and future books.