Recently I was associated on a trucking case in Arizona by my friend Peter Gorski and his brilliant associate Kelley Durham. Our client, a seasonal agricultural worker, had run into a parked trailer that had been left on the side of the road. The force of the wreck killed our client and the defendants’ believed the death occurred immediately at impact. The police report indicated it was our client’s fault, and there was even allegations that our client had drugs and alcohol in his system.
After a thorough investigation our trial team determined that the truck driver 1) failed to place the required warning triangles (FMCSR 391.22), 2) illegally parked on the roadway, and 3) had even parked the trailer in the wrong direction so there was no lights, reflectors, or visibility tape facing oncoming traffic. These factors had not been taken into account by the police.
After many depositions we felt liability was clearly the fault of the trucking company. The trucking company was at fault for failing to properly train the truck driver and for knowingly allowing the illegal parking in order to speed up its operations and make more money. We then deposed the defense toxicologist and were prepared to file a Daubert Motion to keep out the speculative results of the sloppily conducted drug and alcohol testing of our client. Having strongly established our case through deposition, we were able to present a strong case at mediation.
The case resolved at mediation for one of the largest settlements or verdicts we could find for a Yuma, Arizona death case – one million dollars.