In March 2016, our firm obtained a favorable verdict in typically-Plaintiff-friendly valley venue, Laredo, Webb County. In this case, our client was transporting a wide-load mobile home from New Mexico, through West Texas, when it began to cross a two-lane bridge with no shoulders. Plaintiff, in an oilfield-services company pickup, disregarding our client's pilot truck ahead of the mobile home, attempted to cross the same bridge, in the opposite direction, struck the front corner of the home, was rear-ended by co-defendant, pushed into a guardrail, and struck by an 18-wheeler following our client's tractor. Plaintiff argued the mobile home transport company should have completely blocked off the bridge before crossing, stopping all traffic. We pointed out that the permit issued by the state of Texas for the wide load transport would have indicated if such was necessary and, absent that authorization, private companies are not allowed to block oncoming traffic. Additionally, we argued, the truck behind Plaintiff's was following too close at too high a rate of speed. Finally, both Plaintiff and the following pickup had ample warning, both from our client's pilot truck and from the visual of the white-colored 16 foot wide mobile home, to know not to enter the bridge until the home exited. In furtherance of this, we commissioned an accident reconstruction expert to recreate the accident, from the perspective of the Plaintiff, clearly indicating in a video presented to the jury that Plaintiff had the last, best opportunity to avoid the accident by pulling to the shoulder of the roadway, before entering the bridge.
Ultimately, the jury accepted, in part, our narrative that Plaintiff had an opportunity to avoid the accident and co-Defendant bore some responsibility in traveling too close, too fast, in its determination Plaintiff was 35% at fault, co-Defendant was 25% at fault, and our clients were 40% at fault. Co-Defendant had entered into a high-low agreement with Plaintiff's attorney and argued our client was 100% negligent. Though Plaintiff's attorney had asked for $5.2M the jury awarded less than $1.4M, including $0 for Plaintiff's wife's loss of consortium claims. Applying the comparative negligence and various credits resulted in damages owed by our client of less than 30% of the overall jury award, and far less than Plaintiff's pre-trial demands. Plaintiff's attorney had insisted on our client paying policy limits at all times prior to trial. Plaintiff's attorney advised us, at mediation, he had run several mock trials and, in every instance, the mock jury found our client 100% at fault and awarded multi-million dollars in damages.
At the beginning of the year, our firm tried a case in County Court at Law, Bexar County, where liability was stipulated and the focus was Plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiff also brought suit against Defendant for gross negligence, since Defendant was admittedly on the cell phone. We received a favorable result and the jury did not award gross negligence and punitive damages. Plaintiff sought over $200,000 for future injections and surgery, but the jury awarded only a fraction of this amount.
In the Spring of 2015, our firm tried a three-vehicle collision and defended the case on liability. We received a favorable finding of no negligence for our client. The key to the case was the successful deposition testimony we obtained from the witness and police officer to establish that our client did nothing wrong in this collision. Plaintiff had attempted to blame both Defendants and sought a jury verdict of $60,000. The jury agreed with our argument that the medical bills were excessive and needed to be reduced. However, this part did not matter since there was a no negligence finding against our client and she received a take-nothing judgment.
In May, our firm tried a case in San Angelo in Tom Green County involving a high speed collision between an 18-wheeler and a truck pulling a moving van trailer, with multiple co-Defendants involved. The collision occurred when the wind overturned our client’s trailer and he became disabled in the road during a storm. The collision was actually caught on video from a drive cam in the 18-wheeler, and each party believed the video was beneficial to their case. The case was scheduled for a two week trial, but after days of favorable testimony from an independent witness as well as damaging testimony from co-Defendant, the co-Defendants substantially increased their offer and the case resolved in the first week of trial.
In October of 2015, our firm tried and defended successfully against a personal injury lawsuit in Travis County, Texas. Our client was involved in a hit-and-run collision where he collided with Plaintiff’s vehicle and then fled the scene. He was later apprehended, charged and pled guilty to failure to stop and render aid. Plaintiffs sought personal injury damages as well as gross negligence. Defendant was incarcerated at the time and not even able to attend the trial. We defended the case successfully on damages. Plaintiff’s attorney asked for $10,000 for one Plaintiff, but was awarded only $750; asked for $15,000 for the other Plaintiff but was awarded only $1,500; and asked for $15,000 to 20,000 in punitive damages but was awarded only $1,000. The total amount was within the settlement credit from a co-Defendant, giving our client a take-nothing judgment.
In March 2017, our firm obtained a defense verdict in Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas after the jury attributed 100% of liability on Plaintiff following a five-day trial. Plaintiff, who was represented by the Law Offices of Thomas J. Henry, was operating a tractor trailer on a highway when he made a right turn into a private driveway. Defendant was also operating a tractor trailer and struck Plaintiff in the rear of his trailer after he entered the improved shoulder and grassy area because a vehicle in front of him was stopped in the right lane to allow Plaintiff to make the turn. Plaintiff’s version of the accident was that he made the right turn primarily from the right lane (but he did have to veer some into the left lane) with a blinker. Defendant, however, claimed that Plaintiff turned right from the center turning lane without any blinker indicating that he was making a right turn, which caused the vehicles behind him to stop abruptly and resulted in Defendant having to slam on his brakes and pull to the right to avoid hitting the vehicles in front of him. The driver of the vehicle in the right lane testified that Plaintiff made the right turn from the center turning lane without a right blinker, which supported Defendant’s version. Plaintiff maintained that Defendant had plenty of time to stop, which was based on a witnesses’ estimate that they may have been stopped for 30 seconds before the impact occurred. Defendant was successfully able to argue that the substance of the witnesses’ testimony established that the turn, stopping, and impact happened simultaneously. Plaintiff, who had back surgery, asked the jury to award 1.8 million in damages but received zero after the jury found him completely responsible for the collision.