South Texas law firm Thomas J. Henry won a substantial jury verdict for a man who was injured by a head-on collision with a truck while on the road in 2015.
On August 2, 2017 a jury awarded $11.27 million to plaintiff Alex Puga, who suffered a burnt left hand, a broken thigh bone, broken right ankle, and broken hip in a trucking accident on Highway 77 in Texas. Richard Hunnicutt of Thomas J. Henry, represented Puga and his wife, Norma, who was not involved in the accident, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, Corpus Christi. Due to Mr. Puga’s extensive injuries and long-term treatment, $3.6 million of the verdict was awarded to Norma Puga for loss of consortium.
Puga’s were sustained after a tractor hauling a trailer was negligently driven over a Highway 77 median in Refudio County and impacted Puga’s car. At the trial, it was revealed that the tractor driver was using his cell phone during the incident. The tractor was owned by About Tyme Transport, Inc., and the 18-wheel trailer was owned by Xtra Lease, LLC, and leased to RCX Solutions, Inc.
RCX Solutions, Inc. denied responsibility for the tractor-trailer operator’s actions, claiming it was only the broker. A fact question was submitted to the jury in federal court, asking the jury to determine if there was an arrangement between the tractor-trailer operator and RCX Solutions, Inc., to use his equipment. The jury found that an arrangement existed. Hunnicutt proved that RCX Solutions, Inc. did not have a Department of Transportation Broker’s license and therefore could not legally broker the load. Siding with the plaintiff, the jury found that the 18-wheeler operator was negligent and that RCX Solutions, Inc., used a motor vehicle it did not own to transport property under an arrangement with the operator.
“The jury didn’t like this company trying to pass the buck. They saw through the company’s claims that they were a broker and not responsible for this driver. They saw that they were actually the Carrier and the Employer for this load and held them responsible,” Hunnicutt stated.
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