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ARTICLE ID 139773

$________ - MOTOR VEHICLE NEGLIGENCE - TRACTOR TRAILER/SPORTS UTILITY VEHICLE - DRIVER RAN STOP SIGNS AND STRUCK SUV - INSTANT DEATH OF DRIVER - PERSONAL INJURIES TO TWO MINOR PASSENGERS - WRONGFUL DEATH.

Maricopa County, Arizona

On April 4, ________, the 57-year-old male decedent, together with his son and nephew, were traveling in their SUV on Highway 50 near its intersection with State Route 61 in Reno County, Kansas. The decedent and passengers in the SUV were all using their seat belts. The decedent’s vehicle was traveling approximately 71 miles per hour in a 65 mile per hour zone. The defendant’s vehicle, an eighteen wheel tractor trailer, was traveling at a high rate of speed on Route 61. In a distance of ________ feet and a 16 second period of time, the defendant’s driver passed over three sets of rumble strips designed to warn drivers of an impending stop sign. He also passed two signs stating "Intersection ahead" and two signs stating "Stop ahead". He had slowed from 65 miles per hour to approximately 36 miles per hour before running over two oversized stop signs (one sign located on the left side of the defendant’s vehicle and one located on the right side of the defendant’s vehicle). After disregarding all the foregoing, the plaintiff contended that the defendant failed to stop and collided into the decedent’s vehicle. As a result of the collision, the decedent driver was killed instantly. The two minor passengers sustained various personal injuries.

The plaintiff brought suit against the defendant, Swift Transportation Company, alleging that the defendant’s driver was negligent in failing to stop for the stop sign and in causing the fatal collision. The plaintiff further alleged that the driver violated the "hours of service requirement" and intentionally ran the stop sign. The plaintiff contended that this qualified as grounds for punitive damages to be awarded.

The defendant admitted negligence for the collision, but disputed the award of exemplary and punitive damages. The defendant filed summary judgment motions on the issues of exemplary and punitive damage which were denied by the trial court.

After the approximately four week trial, the jury deliberated for seven and a-half hours before returning its unanimous verdict in the total amount of $________. This award consisted of $________ for the 18-year-old male plaintiff, $________ for the 16-year-old male plaintiff, $________ for the surviving wife and $________ allocated as $________ per child for the decedent’s eight children. In addition, the jury awarded the sum of $________ in punitive damages.

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