A Mobile, Ala., jury returned an $18.79 million verdict in favor of Plaintiff Colin Lacy in a case against Empire Truck Sales, LLC of Mobile, Ala., and IMMI of Westfield, Ind. The verdict included $13.79 million in compensatory damages and an additional $5 million in punitive damages. Mr. Lacy was paralyzed when the Freightliner truck he was driving went out of control around 2:30 p.m. on July 14, 2011, on Interstate 10 near Niceville, Fla. Mr. Lacy was represented by Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, P.C., Principal & Lead Products Liability Attorney J. Greg Allen, and Beasley Allen attorneys Mike Andrews, Kendall Dunson, and Stephanie Monplaisir and co-counsel Charlie Potts of Briskman & Binion, P.C. in Mobile, Ala.
The complaint alleged that Mr. Lacy complained to the company, on that day, that the truck had a vibration in the suspension. As it turns out, Empire Truck Sales, LLC had recently serviced the vehicle and caused the defect in the truck by leaving the lateral control rod detached. Empire also caused a defect in the brake system at the time of service. Colin Lacy’s spine was severed at the T-10 level and he spent more than two months in the hospital following the accident. Mr. Lacy will spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
“This verdict will help Colin with his future medical care and other expenses,” Allen said. “Colin was injured in 2011 and his home has yet to be modified for a wheelchair. He is a fine young man whose life was drastically altered by Empire Truck Sales’ conduct. No one would want to trade places with Colin.”
Potts said, “The jury in this case got it right; they determined that 80 percent of the fault lies with Empire Truck Sales, LLC and 20 percent with IMMI. There has to be a certain level of accountability for companies. Fortunately for Colin, he will now be properly taken care of. And, the jury found that Colin was not responsible at all for causing the accident or his injury.”
The trial lasted two weeks under the direction of Judge Mike Youngpeter in the Mobile County Circuit Court. The case is Colin Lacy v. Empire Truck Sales, LLC, 02-CV-2012-902600.