- August 8, 2013
- by Milton Stratos
- Comments Off on Knowing When to Settle A Case | District Court Denies Unentered High-Low Agreement
- posted in Settlements
Defendant Trucking Company Absolved By Jury of Any Negligence in Personal Injury Case
Jimmie D. Bryant v. Trexler Trucking Inc.
In a jury trial at the U.S. District Court Level, Florence division, the Defendant trucking company Trexler Trucking, Inc. was completely absolved of any negligence despite the serious injuries sustained by the Plaintiff during a violent accident. The defense team expected a verdict assigning at least partial liability due to the severity of the injuries alone but was pleasantly surprised when the jury returned after thirty minutes of deliberation with a straight defense verdict.
While traveling on Highway 501 outside of Myrtle Beach, Plaintiff Jimmie D. Bryant slammed into the side of an eighteen wheeler that was making a U-turn. The Plaintiff sustained multiple broken bones, was blinded in one eye, and was diagnosed with moderate brain damage. Bryant accumulated approximately $350,000 in medical bills and a demand for the policy limit of nearly $2,000,000 was made. This was countered with a settlement offer of $600,000 which was turned down.
The defense team attributed the surprising verdict to the persuasive testimony of their trucking safety expert and the accident reconstruction. The defense’s testimony demonstrated that Bryant was following the eighteen wheeler at a distance of about seven hundred feet and that based on this distance, there should have been plenty of time to avoid the accident. Furthermore, when the truck began its turn, it had control of the intersection and Bryant should have yielded the right of way. Finally, the expert testified that a study of the filaments in Bryant’s brake lights indicated that he failed to brake until moments before impact, indicating that he was more than likely distracted.
Apparently, a high-low deal was struck between both parties minutes before the trial, setting the ceiling at the policy limit and the floor at $500,000. This agreement, however, was never entered on the record and therefore not upheld by the Court. Because of this failure to enter the agreement, the Plaintiff failed to recover any damages. On top of this, the Court assigned the $9,300 in attorney fees and costs accumulated by Trexler Trucking, Inc. to the Plaintiff as well.
Authored: Malena Dinwoodie, Stratos Law, LLC
Comments are closed.