Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani Austin Partner Ranelle Meroney and Senior Counsel Taylor Yetter, with the assistance of paralegal Stephanie Fluker, obtained a complete defense verdict in a personal injury case on behalf of the firm's client, a cement plant premises owner.
The plaintiff alleged that GRSM’s cement plant client was negligent in maintaining its facility and specifically failed to provide him with a safe place to unload his end dump trailer. The plaintiff alleged that he was injured when the trailer, in the highest position, tipped over, snapping the hydraulic arm attached to the fifth wheel and violently shaking the cab. The plaintiff alleged that the trailer overturned due to uneven ground. The defendant convinced the jury that it overturned because the load was wet and sticking to the trailer and that the plaintiff was negligent for not having undergone proper training, as was the employer for not mandating it. The plaintiff sought nearly $800,000 in physical pain and suffering, mental anguish, impairment, and past and future medical expense damages.
During a five-day jury trial, GRSM was able to establish through several witnesses that the ground was level in the area where the unload occurred. Further, GRSM was able to establish that it was the plaintiff's truck driver’s responsibility to choose a safe place to load and to know how to unload safely, which enabled the jury to apportion some responsibility to the plaintiff’s employer's trucking company as well.
Based on the evidence presented, the jury, after deliberating for two hours and 45 minutes, returned a defense verdict, finding no liability as to GRSM’s client. The jury found the plaintiff and his employer to be negligent and awarded each of them 50 percent of the liability, awarding damages for past medical expenses only.