Morrison Mahoney partners John Knight and Bridget Lopez and associate Andrew Emerson recently obtained a defense verdict following a wrongful death trial in the Springfield Superior Court. The 72-year-old decedent was struck and killed while crossing the street in a crosswalk by our client as he was traveling through the intersection in a truck.
The evidence from witnesses indicated that the decedent entered the crosswalk in the path of the driver when the driver was proceeding through the intersection at a safe and reasonable speed. Although there was good evidence to support the defense position that the accident was caused by the decedent, our 70‑year-old driver did not have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) at the time of the accident and there was evidence that his employer had been provided with documentation which confirmed this fact months before the accident.
Plaintiff counsel placed great emphasis on the fact that our client should not have even been driving at the time of the accident, and the plaintiff also placed great emphasis on the fact that the accident happened in a crosswalk. Notwithstanding these issues, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the driver and the trucking company.
Counsel intended to take any judgment from the trial and use it as the measure of damages for the bad faith claim, and a verdict in favor of the plaintiff would have led to extended litigation of the bad faith claim. With the defense verdict, the insurer will almost certainly not face exposure on a bad faith claim.