Sometimes, Trial IS the Best Option

by Mandy Hicks

By Buzz English, Partner
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

Buzz English
Buzz English

In the modern-day legal system, it is becoming increasingly rare to take a case to a jury trial. But sometimes it is the best course, especially if you believe you are in the right.

In September, I was in Wayne County Circuit Court in Monticello, Kentucky, trying a case filed by a pedestrian who had been struck by my client, Beja Environmental’s driver, John Magazzeni. Attorney J.A. Sowell, also with ELPO, joined me in representing Magazzeni and Beja at trial.

The Plaintiff

Plaintiff, a 68-year-old woman, walked across a bypass road, just past a lighted intersection and Magazzeni collided with her.  Obviously, the accident caused serious injuries, and Plaintiff was life-flighted to the University of Kentucky’s hospital, where she remained for months.  Prior to trial, she claimed Magazzeni ran a red light and hit her.  At trial, now 72 and assisted by a walker, she claimed she was standing on the median when Magazzeni hit her.

Her Damages

Plaintiff’s medical bills reached almost $2 million dollars.  She requested over $3 million dollars in compensation for her pain and suffering.

Kentucky court trialThe Defendant

Magazzeni was a parking lot sweeper at the time of the subject accident, and was driving Beja Environmental’s small truck that evening.  He was a high school graduate and Army veteran.  He was adamant that he was unable to see the Plaintiff until it was too late, that he slammed on his brakes, and there was no way he could have avoided the collision.

The Defense

Plaintiff made an unreasonable settlement demand.  While the Plaintiff’s damages and injuries were significant and there is always the risk of a large damages verdict, we believed that the driver simply was not at fault, and that jurors would see that. We have extensive experience taking cases to trial, and everything we knew about this case said we could win.

The key facts told us that the driver was simply doing his job at the time of the accident. He was complying with the law in every way possible. He was driving in his lane. He was not speeding. He had the vehicle under control. He was looking ahead, as he should have been. Sometimes even in those circumstances, accidents happen. While it was tragic that the plaintiff was so badly injured, it was not our clients’ fault and we were determined to assist the jury to the same conclusion.

The Verdict

The jury returned a verdict of no liability within one hour.  As in any civil case here in Kentucky, the jury could have assigned any percentage of the fault to either or both parties, but chose to release the company and driver from all liability.

We can help

If your business is served with a lawsuit following an accident, we may be able to help. Reach out to me, attorney Buzz English, at (270) 781-6500 or I will be glad to talk to you.