Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals Affirms Trial Court’s Take Nothing Judgment in Wrongful Death Suit
DALLAS, TX – July 10, 2020 - The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday affirmed the trial court's ruling, bringing an end to a $200 million negligence lawsuit filed against Anderson Columbia Co., Inc., (“Anderson”) after a triple fatality car accident in a construction zone in Maverick County, Texas. Dallas partner Jennifer Aufricht, along with local counsel Eddie Morales and trial veteran Darrell Barger represented Anderson, the construction company engaged in the road work. Catherine Stone and Jessica Barger handled the successful appeal.
The case involved a 2014 rear-end collision caused by an 18-wheeler hitting vehicles stopped in a construction zone thus creating a chain reaction collision near Eagle Pass, TX. The driver of the 18-wheeler was traveling approximately 60 miles per hour immediately prior to the collision and failed to apply his brakes until two seconds before it.
The families of the deceaseds sued both the driver of the 18-wheeler involved in the accident, as well as Anderson, alleging their negligence caused the accident to occur. Anderson was also alleged to be negligent in failing to comply with the traffic control plan the Texas Department of Transportation (“TXDOT”) prepared for the road construction project. Two of the three surviving families argued traffic control warning signs required by TXDOT were removed by workers.
The trial lasted two weeks, resulting in the jury finding the 18-wheeler driver’s negligence caused the accident. Anderson was found not negligent and in compliance with the TXDOT traffic control plan.
On appeal this week, a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit affirmed the win in favor of Anderson.
“The jury’s determination was upheld,” said Thompson Coe partner and lead trial counsel, Jennifer Aufricht. “This has been years in the making, and while sad for the families, I am thrilled the true culprit was held accountable and my client, Anderson absolved.”