MONTGOMERY, ALA. (July 22, 2009) – A Chilton County jury awarded the Sanderson family of Clanton, Ala., a verdict of $3.5 million for the death of James Sanderson, who was killed in January 2008 in Elmore County, Ala., when the van he was driving was crushed between two logging trucks. Beasley Allen attorneys Benjamin E. Baker and J. Cole Portis represented the Sanderson family, including James Sanderson’s widow, Annie M. Sanderson, and children, Derek, Josh and Amy Sanderson; against defendants Ken Gorum Trucking and Gary Fruge.

The evidence showed that the Gorum truck was being operated at a high rate of speed, with inoperable and defective brakes, in violation of Alabama law. The jury was asked to return a verdict to preserve human life and discourage similar acts in the future in accordance with Alabama law. Prior to trial, Progressive Insurance company, the insurance company for the defendants, refused to settle the case.

“Mrs. Sanderson is a strong and courageous woman,” Portis said. “I am grateful to see that folks in Chilton County value human life and will not accept unsafe trucks traveling on Alabama highways harming its citizens. I know that this jury’s verdict will make a difference in the log truck industry.”

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