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Blizzard v. Piknik Transportation

$1.8 million combined verdict in wrongful death trucking case

Facts: HCF’s clients were Piknik Transportation and Solomon McWilliams. Mr. McWilliams was operating a tractor trailer traveling south on I-75 in Cordele when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. He struck the plaintiffs’ vehicle at high speed causing it to run off the interstate and roll several times. Plaintiff driver was killed. Plaintiff passenger suffered fractured vertebra in neck. Plaintiffs were very well respected citizens in small community of Cordele, Georgia where the case was tried. Evidence determined that Defendants McWilliams admittedly had not slept in 22 hours prior to the accident.

Negligence of the defendants was admitted. The primary issues were the value of compensatory damages and whether punitive damages were warranted given the evidence of driver fatigue and negligent entrustment.

Alleged injury/damages: Wrongful death of plaintiff driver and fractured vertebra of plaintiff passenger. Combined medical specials were $5,000.

Last offer/Last demand: Plaintiff’s last demand was $4.5 million. Defendant’s last offer was $1 million.

Result: $1.8 million combined verdict. No punitive damages awarded.

Court: Superior Court of Crisp County, Georgia

Attorneys: Richie Foster and Bill Casey for defendants; Carl Reynolds and Kathy MacArthur for plaintiffs

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