Jury Assesses Damages at $750,000 in Trucking Death Case

Settlement of Anhydrous Ammonia Wrongful Death Case
January 17, 2013
ESPN Anchor Brings Awareness to Potential Dangers in Gas Grills
January 21, 2013
Show all

Jury Assesses Damages at $750,000 in Trucking Death Case

In November, Beattie Law Firm lawyers traveled to Jackson, Tennessee where a Federal District Court jury returned a damage verdict of $750,000 for the surviving son of an individual run over by another trucker.



In this case Mr. Pennock, the decedent, was a semi-truck driver who had backed and parked his rig against the loading bay at Griffin Industries. Griffin was loading Mr. Pennock’s semi-trailer with its product, which Mr. Pennock was going to deliver. As a part of the loading process, Mr. Pennock was next to his trailer checking the loading gauge. A Griffin semi driver who had his trailer parked next to Mr. Pennock’s rig for loading then proceeded to pull away from the bay. In the process, the Griffin driver ran over Mr. Pennock. Tragically, Mr. Pennock died as a result of this incident.

Griffin Industries didn’t want to accept responsibility and instead contended at trial that Mr. Pennock caused his own death by being in harm’s way. The Beattie Law Firm attorneys representing Mr. Pennock’s estate contended that Griffin caused the death of Mr. Pennock because the Griffin driver failed to give any warning whatsoever of his intention to move his semi, that the lighting in the loading bay was below standard, and there was insufficient allowable space between the semi’s.

The Beattie Law Firm retained experts to establish that Griffin violated established trucking standards and the noise level in the loading bay exceeded any sounds that would have been created by the Griffin semi pulling away from the dock in the bay. The experts further opined that it was a trucking industry standard to give warning by sounding a horn or other means to affirmatively warn persons in the area which included Mr. Pennock of his intention to move his vehicle.

Mandatory pretrial mediation was held and Griffin refused to offer more than $60,000 to settle. At trial, the jury heard all of the evidence on both liability and damages. The sole heir to Mr. Pennock was an adult son who had recently been discharged from military duty after serving multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. It was established that Mr. Pennock’s loss of earning potential was approximately $100,000.

Griffin argued to the jury that no damages should be awarded to the estate because it was entirely the fault of Mr. Pennock. The jury disagreed and awarded the estate a general verdict of $750,000, of which more than $500,000 could justly be attributable to consortium damages. Consortium damages are those damages a jury awards for the loss of society, aid, companionship, and support that exists between a parent and child. While the jury did assess some fault to Mr. Pennock, the verdict was approximately 7 times the last offer from Griffin at mediation. Griffin appealed, and settlement was just reached for an undisclosed amount.

The Beattie Law Firm has expertise in all types of vehicular collisions and injuries including specifically trucking cases. The federal jury damage award of $750,000 in this trucking death case was another hard fought win for an outstanding Beattie Law Firm client.