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Jim Moore, Landon Kidd defend transportation client in Federal Court
POSTED MAY 20, 2022
This case arose from a fatal crash near Jackson, Mississippi. Carolyn Crechale, age 81, was driving a Cadillac sedan when she changed lanes on the interstate and collided with another vehicle. This initial accident was a “fender bender.” Crechale remained stopped in the interstate while the other vehicle moved to the shoulder. She remained stopped for approximately 10-15 minutes and spent 8 and a half minutes on her phone. David Brooks was operating a tractor-trailer for Carroll Fulmer Logistics Corporation and approached Crechale from the rear. Brooks could not tell that Crechale’s vehicle was stopped until it was too late. Crechale died due to the accident.
The plaintiffs were Crechale’s three adult sons. They alleged negligence against Brooks and vicarious liability against Carroll Fulmer. The plaintiffs’ accident-reconstruction experts testified that Brooks was 100% at fault and that he failed to maintain proper speed, lookout, distance, and control. Brooks and Carroll Fulmer asserted that Brooks did not have enough time to perceive Crechale’s vehicle and avoid the collision and implicated Crechale for leaving her vehicle stopped in the highway. The accident was captured on the dashcam in Brooks’s truck and proved to be valuable to the defense. In addition, the plaintiffs produced no evidence that Crechale’s vehicle was disabled after the initial “fender bender.”
The jury assessed 60% of the fault to Crechale and 40% to Brooks. The jury awarded $13,748 for Crechale’s funeral expenses and $19,208 for Crechale’s final medical bills. Each of her sons was awarded $200,000 for loss of love, society, and companionship. The raw verdict totaled $632,956. The court reduced the award by 60% based on comparative fault.