A former Pennsylvania landscaper, rendered a quadriplegic when his company truck rolled over in a 2011 accident, will receive $26.55 million in a settlement from ServiceMaster Co., TruGreen and other Defendants. Reportedly, this is the largest settlement ever in a personal injury case in Philadelphia County. The settlement has been approved by Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge M. Teresa Sarmina.
David Williams, 32, had accused ServiceMaster, which owned TruGreen Corp. at the time of the accident, along with Dickinson Fleet Services LLC, of failing to change the “bald tires” on his truck, which caused the rollover. Bob Mongeluzzi, a lawyer for Mr. Williams, said in a statement:
The defendants were alleged to have knowingly and recklessly permitted a dangerous and potentially lethal bald tire on Mr. Williams’ 2005 Ford-350 TruGreen truck to continue in service after it failed their own inspection. We would have demonstrated at trial how easy it would have been for the defendants … to just do the right thing: remove the truck from service until the hazardous tires were replaced. Tragically, no amount of damages can restore a semblance of normalcy in the shattered life of David Williams.
Mr. Williams was ejected from his truck as a result of the November 2011 crash after he lost control of the vehicle without warning and it swerved off the road. He suffered a fractured spinal cord, which required several surgeries. His post-accident care included spending several months at a Philadelphia hospital. Experts have estimated his lifetime medical expenses in the millions of dollars. Mr. Williams, who is married with three sons, requires around-the-clock nursing supervision for activities of daily life, and must be awakened and repositioned in bed several times during the night.
Mr. Williams sought punitive damages in the lawsuit against ServiceMaster and TruGreen along with Dickinson Fleet Management. He detailed in the complaint how a field service technician for Dickinson, which contracted to manage TruGreen’s vehicles, identified the insufficient tread on the rear right tire on Williams’ truck. It was contended that both companies should have made sure that the vehicle was taken out of service.
TruGreen and ServiceMaster – which spun off TruGreen in 2014 – will together pay Mr. Williams $16.75 million. Dickinson is responsible for $9.5 million, and Brooks Auto Repair, a Centre County business that also serviced the truck, will pay $300,000. Mr. Williams is represented by Bob Mongeluzzi, David Kwass and Benjamin Baer of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky PC. They did a very good job for their client. The case is in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas.
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