Subject: Verdicts & Settlements May 28, 2007

Pub: North Carolina Lawyers Weekly

Author: North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Staff

Category: Justice

Sub-Category: Courts

Issue Date: 05/28/2007      Word Count: 288

Verdicts & Settlements May 28, 2007

by North Carolina Lawyers Weekly Staff

Dolan Media Newswires


RALEIGH, NC -- Case name and number: Janice Deem Sutton and Kelton Sutton vs. Joseph James Becton, Oscar Lee Chestnutt, Individually and d/b/a Oscar Chestnutt Trucking, Ezzell Trucking, Inc., Citicapital Commercial Leasing Corporation, d/b/a Associates Leasing, Inc., case no. 06 CVS 798.

Description: This is a personal injury case. Plaintiff was a rural mail carrier in the process of delivering mail when she was struck from the rear by a tractor-trailer that was owned by defendant Chestnutt and operated by defendant Becton. Chestnutt had employed defendant Becton, who had a substantial criminal record. Defendant Ezzell Trucking contracted with Chestnutt to provide services to haul wood chips. Chestnutt operated under his own DOT authority pursuant to a "motor carrier agreement" with Ezzell. Ezzell denied responsibility for the accident. Plaintiff was rendered a paraplegic by the accident and also lost sight in her right eye. Her husband pursued a claim for loss of consortium. They have one adult child. After substantial discovery on agency issues, defendant Ezzell's motion for summary judgment was denied. The case proceeded to mediation shortly thereafter and was settled.

Principal injuries (in order of severity): Paraplegia/blindness.

Special damages: Not applicable.

Tried or settled: Settled.

Court: Lenoir County Superior Court.

Date concluded: December 14, 2006.

Name of judge: None (mediation).

Insurance carrier: Not applicable.

Expert witnesses and areas of expertise: J. Finley Lee, Ph.D., economist from Naples, Fla.; Kerry Nelson, heavy vehicle specialist of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Bruce Holt, RN, CCM, CLCP, life care planner of Pisgah Forest, N.C.; and Richard Bonfiglio, MD., psychiatrist of Murrysville, Pa.

Attorneys for plaintiff: W. Thompson Comerford, Jr., and Kevin J. Williams of Comerford & Britt, LLP, of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Robert E. Whitley of Whitley Rodgman & Whitley, LLP, of Kinston, N.C.

Submitted by: W. Thompson Comerford, Jr., plaintiff's attorney.

Copyright 2008 Dolan Media Company.  All rights reserved.

Putting the Brakes on Unsafe Trucking Companies