Chicago Partners Jonathan W. Goken and F. Michael Pasqualino secured a verdict that was $41.5 million below the trial demand when a Boone County, Illinois jury returned a $9 million verdict in favor of the plaintiffs and against Lewis Brisbois' trucking company client in a very difficult admitted liability double fatality trucking case. This jury trial was one of the few completed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before trial, our client had admitted liability after one of its truck driver employees negligently ran through a stop sign and instantly killed a father and son in the crash. The father was 52 years old and the son was 22 years old at the time of the accident. The father left behind a wife and four other children, and the son left behind his mother and four siblings. As a result, the case was presented to the jury as ten separate wrongful death claims, through two different estates - one for father and one for the son. The plaintiffs' case against the driver was dismissed prior to trial.
The plaintiffs had initially demanded $11 million to settle the claims, but later decided they wanted to present their case before the jury. Before trial commenced, counsel for the plaintiffs advised that his clients would be seeking an award close to $35 million. At trial, the plaintiffs presented medical evidence of psychological damages sustained by all five surviving family members, which, based on the plaintiffs' experts, would each need a lifetime of treatment to address ongoing psychological issues relating to post-traumatic stress disorder, clinical depression, anxiety disorder, and increased risks such as self-harm and suicidal ideations. At the close of trial, the plaintiffs sought an award of $50.5 million from the jury, itemized as $25.25 million per estate.
After deliberations, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs in the amount of $9 million, awarding $4.5 million per estate, which was $2 million below the initial demand and $41.5 million below what the plaintiffs sought from the jury. There were no appeals filed and this case is coming to closure in the coming days.
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