Category Archives: Verdicts

Texting Driver Found Grossly Negligent for Fatal Crash

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A Texas jury recently ordered a college student to pay over $21 million in damages after finding him guilty of gross negligent for texting while driving and causing a fatal crash.  This is one of the largest verdicts ever obtained in a texting-while-driving case. (Small v. Vestal, No. 08-01-18000-CV (Tex., Robertson Co. Dist. Ct. Mar. 17, 2010).)

In 2007, Jason Reed Vestal was driving his pickup truck down Highway 6 near Calvert, Texas, when he crossed the center-line and hit an oncoming car head-on. The crash killed the other driver, 21-year-old Megan Small, a student at Baylor University. It also injured Small’s friend Laura Gleffe, who was driving behind her and was run off the road by Vestal’s truck.

The Plaintiff’s lawyer became suspicious when he deposed Vestal, who insisted that he did not have his phone with him when he was driving.  His phone records were subpoenaed and it was discovered that Vestal had made 7 phone calls and sent 15 text messages during the 45 minutes he was on the road. Some of the messages were sent and received moments before the crash.

$792,500 Verdict for Motorcycle Rider Not Appealed

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No appeal was filed from the $792,500 jury verdict returned in Walker State Court last month for Clinton “Buck” Currie.  Buck was riding his motorcycle along Highway 341 just outside Chickamauga, GA two years ago, when a Buick Skylark suddenly turned left directly in front of him.  The car struck the motorcycle and Buck went flying through air.  Fortunately, he survived, but the impact with the car shattered his left ankle.  Buck did nothing wrong, but the injury dramatically affected his life.   Justice has now been served.

$792,500 Jury Verdict in Walker State Court

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On Thursday, March 11, 2010, a conscientious and hard working Walker County jury returned a verdict totaling $792,500 for a 39 year-old self-employed roofer/sheet metal fabricator injured in a bad wreck two years ago. On a Sunday afternoon two years ago, the plaintiff took his Harley motorcycle out for a ride over to his mother’s house. As he cruised along Highway 341 near Chickamauga, Georgia at a safe speed, a Buick Skylark, driven by an 88 year-old man, suddenly turned left directly in front of him. The impact shattered the plaintiff’s left ankle. The orthopedic trauma surgeon was able to use steel plates and screws to put the bimalleolar ankle fracture dislocation back together, but the plaintiff was left with a painful arthritic ankle with limited mobility.

We sought compensation in Walker State Court for the all harms and losses he sustained as a result of wreck. The jury provided $50,000 for medical expenses, $37,500 for lost earnings to date, $379,000 for future lost earnings, $20,000 for pain and suffering to date, plus $306,000 for future pain and suffering.

The biggest challenge we faced was overcoming sympathy for the defendant, who appeared in court in a wheelchair, after defense counsel made a big show of the fact that the defendant was ill.  Judge Peppers prohibited further appeals to sympathy and the jury took seriously our admonitions not to let “outside reasons” influence their determination of the proper amounts of money required to balance out the harms and losses the plaintiff suffered.

Currie v. Farmer, Case 08 CV 7097, Walker State Court, LaFayette, Georgia

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