A Mississippi jury has awarded $30 million to teenager Ethan Bryant and his parents in a lawsuit arising out of a highway crash. The teenager was severely injured following a deadly truck accident in August 2006. Ethan was 16 years old when he and a friend, Patrick Taylor, drove through an intersection in Southaven, Mississippi, near the Tennessee border. A gravel truck driven by Chad McCarty was unable to stop at the intersection’s traffic signal, which was red for him, and crashed into Ethan‘s Dodge Dakota. The force of the impact caused the boy’s vehicle to careen about 100 feet away from the intersection. His friend, Patrick, was killed in the crash at the scene. Ethan lapsed into an eight-month coma. After awakening from the coma, he developed a severe disorder limiting oxygen to the brain. Ethan now suffers from quadriplegia and episodic seizures.
The gravel truck was overloaded past the level allowed under state vehicle regulations by nearly 20,000 pounds. As a result, the truck, which was only going about 50 miles per hour when the driver attempted to brake, was unable to come to a stop at the intersection. That resulted in an accident with a terrible result. The lawsuit named as defendants McCarty; APAC-Tennessee, the asphalt paving company that commissioned McCarty; and Memphis Stone & Gravel, the company that loaded the truck.
Documents obtained during discovery revealed that McCarty had made at least 15 trips with a haul that exceeded the state limit. He had also not received his trucking license until July 31st of that year, but had driven loads for APAC-Tennessee for about three weeks prior to that time. APAC-Tennessee claimed that this man was an “independent contractor,” and not an agent or employee. So a key issue was whether APAC-Tennessee was an employer of McCarty, and whether the company was at fault for failing to supervise the loads he was carrying.
The jury awarded $30 million to Ethan and his parents for past and future medical expenses and loss of income. The jury found APAC-Tennessee 70% responsible for the accident; Memphis Stone & Gravel 20% responsible, and the driver, McCarty 10% responsible. McCarty had previously pleaded guilty to manslaughter and aggravated assault and was put on 15 years probation. Robert R. Morris III and Paul R. Scott of Smith Phillips Mitchell, Scott & Nowak, in Batesville, Miss., represented the Plaintiffs and did a very good job in the case.
Source: Lawyers USA Online
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.