Law Offices of Morgan Adams Receives
Record $9.25 Million Dollar Drunk Driving Verdict
Drunk driving collision results in largest punitive damages verdict against a drunk driver in Tennessee history.
June 19, 2012 a Chattanooga jury ordered a drunk driver to pay a combined award of $9.25 Million Dollars to a woman he injured in a collision on Mountain View Road in Ooltewah, Tennessee.
The Hamilton County jury unanimously ordered Kevin Davis to pay $500,000 in compensatory damages and $8.75 Million Dollars in punitive damages. It is the largest punitive damages drunk driving verdict in Tennessee history. One of the purposes of punitive damages is to “deter others” from “similar activity.” The jury of twelve Hamilton County citizens wanted to send the strongest possible message, in the only way that the law allows, that drunk driving will not be tolerated in Tennessee.
The collision occurred on Tuesday, November 25, 2008. It was two days before Thanksgiving. Kevin Davis drank half a bottle of Southern Comfort whiskey over a 30 minute period, waited ten minutes, and then got behind the wheel of his car. Mr. Davis had two prior DUIs and had been ordered by a judge to have an interlock device, or a breath analyzer for cars, on his car which would have prevented him from driving while drunk. Had he followed the Court’s order and had an interlock device on his car, the wreck never would have happened.
Instead, Mr. Davis was able to drive down Mountain View Road drunk, towards Ooltewah High School. While driving towards the high school, Mr. Davis began to pass out from the effects of the alcohol. Rather than pulling into one of the many parking lots he was passing, a driveway, or just pulling off alongside the road, he rolled down his window hoping the cold air would revive him. Shortly thereafter, he passed out completely, drifted into the other lane and slammed head-on into a car driven by an 18 year-old honor roll Ooltewah High School student and cheerleader coming home from a high school basketball game.
After the horrific collision, the Jaws of Life were used to extract the young student from her car. She was placed on a backboard and rushed to Erlanger Hospital where she was found to have no feeling in her legs. Fortunately, the feeling in her legs, and her ability to use her legs, was restored and she was able to leave the hospital. Unfortunately, she continued to have foot problems, which eventually required multiple surgeries and years of physical therapy. She now walks with permanent pain and is no longer able to exercise or participate in those activities that once caused her great joy.
Mr. Davis was convicted of his third DUI as a result of this collision.
Morgan Adams was hired to represent the young lady. The only directive given Morgan Adams by his client was to “send a message so that other people think twice before they drink and drive, or allow their friends or family to drink and drive.”
Morgan Adams took the case on that condition and pushed it to trial. Prior to the trial, Mr. Davis had not paid any bills for the totaled car, the ambulance, the emergency room, or any of the other medical bills or damages suffered by the young woman.
The jury found Mr. Davis negligent and reckless in causing the collision. They were asked to send the strongest possible message to Mr. Davis, and to every other person in Tennessee, that drinking and driving will not be tolerated. The twelve-person unanimous jury carefully deliberated before returning a verdict for $350,000 in past damages, $150,000 for future damages and $8.75 Million Dollars in punitive damages against Mr. Davis. The verdict is the largest punitive damages drunk driving verdict in the history of the State of Tennessee. The purpose of the punitive damages verdict was to deter others from drinking and driving and to remind friends and family members of the need to stop individuals from driving after drinking.
The Law Offices of Morgan G. Adams is nationally known for its representation of individuals hurt or killed through the fault of others. The firm concentrates on cases involving tractor-trailer accidents involving catastrophic brain and spinal cord injuries and wrongful death. Morgan Adams has the highest possible ratings from multiple professional organizations including: an AV rating from Martindale-Hubbell, 10/10 from AVVO.com, designated multiple years as a Mid-South SuperLawyer, and has been found to be one of the Top One Hundred Trial Lawyers in the State of Tennessee by the American Trial Lawyers Association.
Morgan Adams is a past president of the Chattanooga Trial Lawyers Association, a life and Board of Governors member of the Tennessee Association of Justice, and a past chair of the Trucking Litigation Section of the American Association for Justice.