Morgan v. Douglas Asphalt and Ellis

Date: November 2015
Court: State Court of Coffee County

In this case, Martin Levinson represented the employee of a global engineering, consulting, construction, and operations company specializing in infrastructure development in energy, water, and telecommunications.  The case involved a chain reaction collision on I-95 in McIntosh County in southeast Georgia.  Our client's driver, who was driving a Ford F-350 truck and towing a 20-foot enclosed trailer, rear-ended an asphalt truck that was attempting to make a U-turn across the median of the interstate, and the Plaintiffs in turn rear-ended our client's trailer.  One of the plaintiffs suffered a significant leg injury, breaking her femur at both ends, which required about 18 months to heal to the point where she could return to work.  Within a month after going back to work, she fell and fractured her knee, putting her out of work for another year.  The plaintiffs contended that the subsequent fall and time missed from work were caused by the collision.  Overall, the plaintiffs claimed about $150,000 in special damages as well as future disability.

Apart from the causation issues relating to the plaintiff's subsequent fall at work, we did not believe that our client's driver had any significant liability for the plaintiffs' injuries.  A mediation of the case in 2014 was unsuccessful, as we were not willing to offer more than $50,000 to settle the case against our client’s employee.  As the specially-set trial date approached, we were able to get the attorney's fee claim against our client dismissed and we also obtained favorable rulings in limine on evidentiary issues that would arise at trial.  Well before trial began, we reiterated our earlier settlement offer. 

On the morning of trial, before jury selection began, we successfully obtained the exclusion of argument and purported evidence by plaintiffs that our client's trailer was not sufficiently visible at night or did not comply with applicable "conspicuity" regulations or requirements.  Not much later, after the jury selection process had begun, the plaintiffs accepted our offer of $50,000.