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Pickup Truck Hit Pedestrian – Driver's Employer Denied Liability

MO Lawyers Media Staff//May 26, 2003

Pickup Truck Hit Pedestrian – Driver's Employer Denied Liability

MO Lawyers Media Staff//May 26, 2003

$401,600 Verdict

A pedestrian who was hit by a pickup truck sued the pickup driver and the driver’s employer.

On Nov. 5, 2001 Patrick O’Brien was on his way to work at Holden Animal Clinic and Supply, Inc., driving his personal pickup, which had signs for the company attached to the sides. He approached a curve on County Road SW75 in Johnson County when he missed the turn and struck Jeff Miller, who was standing on the side of the road.

Miller suffered multiple injuries requiring surgery, including fractures in both his legs, a torn rotator cuff, fractured ribs and burns on his chest.

In addition to a negligence claim against O’Brien, Miller claimed Holden was liable under a respondeat superior theory. O’Brien’s truck contained clinic supplies and equipment, a two-way radio and magnetic signs for Holden. The company said that O’Brien was not acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the accident because he was going to work in his personal vehicle. The parties stipulated that O’Brien was legally intoxicated at the time of the accident.

The jury found against O’Brien and awarded Miller $391,600 and Miller’s wife $10,000. The jury found in favor of defendant Holden on the respondeat superior claim.

Type of Action: Automobile-pedestrian accident

Type of Injuries: Multiple fractures, torn rotator cuff, burns and abrasions

Court/Case Number/Date: Johnson County Circuit Court/CV401-642CC/ April 9, 2003

Caption: Miller v. O’Brien, et al.

Judge, Jury or ADR: Jury

Name of Judge: Joseph P. Dandurand

Special Damages: $84,608 medical expense

Verdict or Settlement: $401,600 verdict (against defendant O’Brien); defendant’s verdict (for defendant Holden)

Allocation of Fault: N/A

Last Offer: $25,000 from defendant O’Brien, $50,000 from defendant Holden

Last Demand: $300,000

Attorneys for Plaintiff: J. Kirk Rahm, Rahm & McVay, Warrensburg

Attorneys for Defendant: John E. Franke, Kansas City (for defendant Holden)

Insurance Carrier: Allied Insurance Co.

Plaintiff’s Experts: Dr. Brian Healy, Kansas City (orthopedic specialist)

Defendant’s Experts: None

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