A federal court jury in San Francisco has awarded $11.4 million in damages to a garbage truck driver whose spine was injured when a front wheel of his truck collapsed and the 55,000-pound vehicle dropped to the ground. Forty-six year old Raymond Mariolle, a Waste Management Co. driver for more than 20 years, suffered compression injuries from the October 2007 incident that left him in severe pain despite three surgeries. The right front hub of the truck fractured and the wheel fell off while Mariolle was driving the truck. It was alleged in the lawsuit that Consolidated Metco (which made the hub), Volvo Truck (which built the cab and chassis), and Wittke Manufacturing (which designed the truck), all knew the hub was defective and overloaded and failed to warn drivers or the public.
Mariolle returned to work ten months later. He later transferred to part-time and nondriving duties, but was physically unable to work after August 2010. The companies contended Mariolle had pre-existing back injuries that were the primary cause of his disabilities and ongoing pain. After a three-week trial, the jury found that the wheel hub, the truck and the cab and chassis were all defective and had caused the Plaintiff’s injuries.
The Plaintiff’s damages included $2.4 million for lost wages and medical costs and $7.5 million for pain and suffering. The jury also awarded his wife, Regina Mariolle, $1.5 million for loss of marital and family relations.
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