Volume 27, Issue 6, June 2012
Reported in Jackson County, Missouri
In this motor vehicle negligence action, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants were negligent in causing a collision that killed the driving mother and seriously injured the two minor passengers. The defendants denied the allegations and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ alleged damages.
On the date of the incident the female decedent, mother of the two minor plaintiffs, was operating her vehicle on the Ohio Turnpike. The minor plaintiffs, ages 12 and 15 were also passengers in the vehicle at the time of the collision. The defendant driver was operating a tractor pulling triple trailers all carrying loads. The vehicles were traveling in a construction zone where the roadway narrowed. The defendant’s truck and trailers collided into the rear of the decedent’s vehicle.
As a result of the collision, the mother driver died at the scene. The 15-year-old minor plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury and was taken from the scene of the collision by LifeFlight. The other minor, the 12-year-old son, sustained multiple fractures including a broken pelvis and multiple facial fractures.
The plaintiffs brought suit against the defendant driver and the trucking company alleging negligence. The defendants denied the allegations and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiffs’ injuries and damages.
The parties engaged in extensive informal discovery and participated in two mediation sessions. The parties agreed to a settlement of all the plaintiffs’ claims for the total sum of $40,800,000 during the second mediation.
Matthew Slattery, Peter Slattery and Edward Slattery individually and as Personal Representatives of the Estate of Susan Slattery vs. Estes Express Lines, Inc. and Douglas Bouch. Case no. 1116-CV-13913; Judge Justine Del Muro.
Attorneys for plaintiff: Jeff Burns and Tim Dollar of Dollar Burns & Becker in Kansas City, MO.
The 15-year-old minor plaintiff developed complications following his pelvic fracture. He required an aggressive treatment with anticoagulants to prevent a possibly fatal blood clot. He also suffers from the emotional scarring of watching his mother die at the scene of the collision. He has physically recuperated from most of his injuries, although he still experiences some residuals from his injuries.
The 12-year-old was coma-like for approximately one month and could only move his one little finger. The plaintiff’s attorney invited the defendants to come and visit the child in the hospital. It was following that meeting that the defendant requested that the plaintiffs not file suit, but rather agree to mediate the claims. While the defendants never outright admitted liability for the collision and the resulting injuries, due to the fact that no litigation was filed, it never became necessary to make the allegations in a formal complaint.
The 12-year-old who suffered the traumatic brain injury is confined to an electric wheelchair. He is able to take a few steps but cannot ambulate on his own. He also suffers from aphasia and his speech is therefore limited to a great extent. The child is back at school presently taking some classes, but he can only perform simple mathematical problems. He also suffers from a lack of dexterity in his right hand and has to write with his left hand.
During the parties’ first mediation, a partial high/low agreement was reached. While the parties were awaiting approval of that agreement, they engaged in the second mediation session, at which time the final settlement of the claims of the plaintiffs was reached.
Plaintiff’s economist expert: Edward Bell, Ph.D. from Cleveland, OH. Plaintiff’s economist expert: Lane Hudgins, Ph.D. from Murphysboro, IL. Plaintiff’s life care planner expert: Gary Yarkony, M.D. from Lake Forest, IL.
To read more about this case click here. See page 2.