On Friday a Hinds County Circuit Court jury returned a $2.2 million verdict in Moton v. Leguire and Climate King, LLC.

Facts:

Plaintiff was traveling on I-55 south on August 3, 2016 when the pickup truck she borrowed from her brother to drive to work experienced mechanical difficulties. It was later determined the fuel filter quit working causing the truck to lose power and slow.

The truck slowed or stopped in the middle lane of I-55 South past County Line Road. The Defendant was following another vehicle in the center lane. When the other vehicle swerved to miss the Plaintiff’s truck, the Defendant rear-ended the Plaintiff.

Defendant contended the Plaintiff was stopped in the road creating an unavoidable road hazard.  Defendant submitted a jury instruction attempting to apportion fault to Plaintiff and her brother who loaned her his truck to drive to work on the theory that the truck’s check engine light was on and the Plaintiff and her brother were operating a vehicle in an unsafe condition. Plaintiff contended the Defendant was following too close, speeding and not maintaining a safe distance from the car in front of him.

Injuries:

The Plaintiff’s injuries consisted of a burst fracture at C-7 requiring a surgery and six day stay in the hospital. Plaintiff had medical bills of $157,000.00 and estimated future medicals. Plaintiff also claimed one year of lost wages since she has not worked since the wreck. Her doctor has not cleared her to return to work.

Verdict:

The jury placed 100% fault on the Defendant, no fault on Plaintiff and no fault on Plaintiff’s brother. The jury awarded a total verdict of $2,220,000. The verdict components were:

  • $1,500,000.00 in pain and suffering;
  • $694,000.00 for past and future medical bills; and
  • $26,000.00 for past lost wages.

The trial lasted all last week.

Plaintiff’s attorneys were Ashley Ogden, Jim Smith and Tyler Royals of Ogden and Associates, PLLC in Jackson.

Defense attorneys were Robert Gibbs of Gibbs Travis, and Jason Strong of Daniel Coker, Horton and Bell in Jackson.

Judge William Gowan presided.

My Take:

That’s a big win for the plaintiff. Non-economic damages verdicts of 10x medicals are rare in Mississippi car wreck trials.

It appears that the plaintiff will have to take a $500,000 haircut on the non-economic verdict due to the $1 million cap on non-economic damages.