Georgia State Jury Awards Nursing Student $ 15 Million In Compensatory Damages For Traumatic Brain Injury Sustained In Rear-End Collision With 18-Wheeler
On April 22, 2015, traffic on Interstate 16 in Bryan County, GA was at a standstill due to a collision that had been admittedly caused by the negligence of Robert Gordon Tayloe, a trucker who was driving an 18-wheeler for Greywolf Logistics, Inc. Plaintiff Megan Richards was riding in one of two cars containing her nursing school friends, all of whom were on their way to Savannah, GA, when their car was stopped at the end of the long line of traffic on I-16. At that moment, a tractor-trailer (owned by U.S. Xpress Leasing and operated by Total Transportation) violently collided with the two cars at a rate of 68 MPH. The U.S. Xpress company driver (John Wayne Johnson) allegedly did not attempt to avoid colliding with the stopped traffic.
Several of the women died as a result of the collision and Megan Richards sustained a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), which was shown on a susceptibility weighted imaging MRI (SWI-MRI), as well as fractures to her lower spine and left shoulder. She also suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and acute anxiety disorder.
On May 12, 2015, Richards filed an action in the Superior Court for Bryan County, GA against the following defendants: Total Transportation of Mississippi, LLC, U.S. Xpress Enterprises, Inc., U.S. Xpress, Inc., U.S. Xpress Leasing, Inc., New Mountain Lake Holdings, LLC, Mountain Lake Risk Retention Group, Inc., John Wayne Johnson, Greywolf Logistics, Inc., Arch Insurance Company, and Robert Gordon Tayloe.
The action proceeded to a jury trial that was presided over by Judge C. Paul Rose. On Jan. 20, 2017, the jury returned a verdict in Richards' favor, finding the U.S. Xpress defendants to be 100% liable. The jury awarded Richards $ 15,000,000 in compensatory damages, plus finding that she was entitled to punitive damages. According to information provided by plaintiff's counsel, the parties had reached a confidential high/low settlement during jury deliberations.
Plaintiff was represented by Robert Cheeley, Patrick Dawson, and Keith Pittman of the Cheeley Law Group in Alpharetta, Georgia, as well as Billy N. Jones and Carl Varnedoe of Jones Osteen & Jones in Hinesville, Georgia. Defense counsel included David A. Dial, Richard H. Hill, and Jackson A. Dial of Weinberg, Wheeler, Hudgins, Gunn & Dial in Atlanta, Georgia; Michael D. Hostetter of Nall & Miller, LLP in Atlanta, Georgia; Mark A. Barber of Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz in Atlanta, Georgia; and Matthew F. Barr of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP in Atlanta,Georgia.
Lexis Advance subscribers may view the complete summary, including expert witness information, here: Megan Rebecca Richards v. Total Transportation of Mississippi, LLC, et al.; 2017 Jury Verdicts LEXIS 804
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