Today in Bartow, Florida, a jury returned a $65 million verdict — all compensatory damages, no punitives — in a truck crash case against Bynum Transport. I understand the case involved a stop light collision with contested liability. The damage award was apparently all to fund a huge life care plan for severely brain damaged 19-year-old plaintiff.
This case may illustrate the fact that conservative, small town jurors are fully capable of returning an adequate verdict in these cases. Bartow, where the population in the 2000 census was 15,340, is the seat of Polk County. The population is 2/3 white. Polk County has been considered one of the most reliably Republican counties in Florida, and John McCain easily carried it in the last election. So this was not a wildly liberal runaway jury, but apparently conservative folks who were willing to follow the rules.
I don’t have any information yet on how much of that verdict may be collectable.
Ken Shigley is a trial attorney in Atlanta, Georgia who has been listed as a “Super Lawyer” (Atlanta Magazine), among the “Legal Elite” (Georgia Trend Magazine), and in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers (Martindale), and is a Certified Civil Trial Advocate of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He served as chair of the Southeastern Motor Carrier Litigation Institute, is on the National Advisory Board for the Association of Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America, and is a frequent speaker at continuing legal education programs for the Interstate Trucking Litigation Group of the American Association for Justice. Mr. Shigley has extensive experience representing parties in trucking and bus accidents, products liability, catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, spinal cord injury, brain injury and burn injury cases. Currently he is Secretary of the 40,000 member State Bar of Georgia.This post is subject to our ethical disclaimer.