Joseph Williams and Marilyn Cornell, as Parents of the deceased, Sylvia Atchison v. Greyhound Lines, Inc. and Carl Alston

Date: September 2005
Court: Superior Court of Liberty County

Catastrophic Accident Litigation

C.A. File No: 01-V-993

This matter arose out of the death of the Plaintiff's decedent who was a 21 yr. old female Army Private at Ft. Stewart in Hinesville, GA. She turned left from a stop sign and was struck by a Greyhound bus. Plaintiffs asserted that the bus was exceeding the posted speed limit by approximately 20 miles an hour. The State Patrol Officer who measured the skid marks measured a total distance of marks that, according to Plaintiffs' expert, proved the bus was traveling at 65 miles an hour in a 45 mile an hour zone. Plaintiffs' expert opined that had the bus been traveling within the posted speed limit, the accident would have been avoided. Defendant argued that the State Trooper inadvertently attributed a large length of the skid marks to the Greyhound bus when, in fact, the tread patterns of the skid marks revealed two different vehicles left the marks measured by the State Trooper. The Defendant called an accident reconstructionist as well as a tire expert who testified that the marks were from two different vehicles and that the marks left by the bus, if they had been measured correctly, proved that the bus was traveling under the posted speed limit. After a four day trial, the jury returned a verdict of $1.1 million dollars. This was after the jury, using comparative negligence, determined that the Plaintiffs' decedent was 45% negligent and the Defendant was 55% negligent. The Plaintiffs asked the jury for $6 million dollars during closing. A high/low agreement was offered by the Defendant prior to trial, but not accepted by the Plaintiffs.