Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rolling truck produces $10 million verdict

In a civil case, a jury awarded a plaintiff 10 million dollars but found him 65% at fault  resulting  in multiple orthopedic and internal injuries when a truck rolled back and trapped him.  Key v Diamond International Trucks, WD 77323 (Jan 27, 2015).

Key delivered trucks to dealerships.  In 2007 he sustained injuries when undecking trucks using a hoist provided by Diamond.  Key had lifted a truck and used wheel chocks out of a container bin and became trapped when the truck rolled as he released a U-bolt.  He had used one strap rather than two.

Diamond asserted, among other instructional errors, that it owed no duty to the plaintiff and asserted he was an independent contractor and Diamond had no duty to provide equipment (wheel chocks) for him to perform the job safely.  The court distinguished between the duty owed to independent contractors in cases of premises liability and cases involving a specific instrumentality.  A landowner owes a duty of ordinary care for their safety and for injuries involving unsafe appliance or instrumentality furnished by the landowner. The court noted Diamond  should have preserved  the issue in a motion for a directed verdict.

The jury found plaintiff's wife sustained damages but found the amount of damages was zero.  The plaintiff required ongoing treatment for urology and gastroenterology.