Bits & Pieces

Elias v. West Coast Transport, 2018 WL 2738844

2018 WL 2992334 (Okl.Dist.) (Verdict and Settlement Summary)

$95K for Tractor-Trailer, Police Vehicle MVA
District Court of Oklahoma, Fourteenth Judicial District, Tulsa County.
Elias v. West Coast Transp. Inc.
Type of Case:
Vehicle Negligence • Motor Vehicle v. Motor Vehicle

Vehicle Negligence • Lane Change

Vehicle Negligence • Trailer

Vehicle Negligence • Truck

Negligent Hiring & Supervision • Negligent Hiring

Negligent Hiring & Supervision • Negligent Supervision

Vicarious Liability

Specific Liability: Driver of a leased tractor-trailer improperly and unsafely changed lanes and struck a police vehicle, causing injuries to the driver of the police vehicle
General Injury: Unspecified personal injuries; medical expenses

State: Oklahoma
County: Tulsa
Related Court Documents:
Defendant West Coast Transportation Inc.’s motion for summary judgment: 2017 WL 9510818

Plaintiff’s response to defendant West Coast Transportation Inc.’s motion for summary judgment: 2017 WL 9510819

Journal entry of judgment: 2017 WL 9512709

Pretrial conference order: 2018 WL 2689812

Plaintiff’s trial brief: 2018 WL 2689855

Plaintiff’s amended petition: 2018 WL 2689853

Order of distribution: 2018 WL 2738844

Case Name: Elias v. West Coast Transportation Inc. and Marvin Piguet d/b/a Possum Trot Xpress
Docket/File Number: CJ-2015-01202
Trial Type: Settlement
Settlement: Plaintiff, $95,000
Range Amount: $50,000 – 99,999
Date of Incident: February 03, 2014
Date of Filing: March 27, 2015
Settlement Date: May 23, 2018
Judge:Rebecca Brett Nightingale
Plaintiff: Michael R. Green, The Law Office of Michael R. Green, Tulsa, OK; Valerie Sparks, The Law Office of Michael R. Green, Tulsa, OK
Defendant (West Coast Transportation Inc.): David C. Senger, Coffey, Senger & McDaniel P.L.L.C, Tulsa, OK; Harry A. Parrish, Coffey, Senger & McDaniel, Tulsa, OK
Defendant (Piguet d/b/a Possum Trott Xpress): Brock C. Bowers, Hiltgen & Brewer P.C., Oklahoma City, OK; Jeffrey D. Scott, Hiltgen & Brewer P.C., Oklahoma City, OK; Kaitlyn R. Dunn, Hiltgen & Brewer P.C., Oklahoma City, OK
Plaintiff: Ron O’Dell, Accident Reconstructionist, Mounds, OK
Breakdown of Award:
$20,577.62 to plaintiff for payment to Tulsa Orthopedic Associates Inc.
$17,008.65 to plaintiff for damages
$47,500.00 to plaintiff for payment of attorney fees
$9,913.73 to plaintiff for payment of legal costs
Summary of Facts:
Jeffrey Elias, a police officer, reportedly drove a police vehicle at or near South Lewis Avenue and East 21st Street in Tulsa, Okla. Dale Pennington, driving a commercial tractor-trailer north on South Lewis Avenue, allegedly changed lanes and struck Elias’ vehicle.

Elias said he was injured due to the collision.

At the time of the accident, Pennington reportedly was an employee of West Coast Transportation Inc. (WCT), owned by Horace Modlin, and Possum Trot Xpress (PTX), owned by Marvin Piguet, and working within the scope of his employment or agency with them.

Elias initially filed a lawsuit against WCT. The plaintiff later added Piguet d/b/a PTX as a defendant in an amended petition.

In a second amended petition, the plaintiff alleged Pennington, as the defendants’ employee and/or agent, changed lanes in an unsafe and improper manner, and violated the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, Oklahoma Rules of the Road and Revised Tulsa Municipal Ordinances by crashing into the plaintiff’s vehicle. The plaintiff also alleged Pennington’s actions were done in conscious disregard of the plaintiff’s rights and safety. In addition, the plaintiff claimed the defendants failed to adequately investigate, hire, direct, control, train, supervise and retain Pennington.

The plaintiff sought compensatory damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering and the inability to transact his business. He also sought punitive damages, plus interest, attorney fees and costs.

The defendants disputed the plaintiff’s claims. Piguet denied liability and disputed the nature and extent of the plaintiff’s injuries, averring they were pre-existing. He also contended Pennington was an independent contractor and not an employee.

WCT filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing it had no involvement in the subject accident or control over Pennington. The defendant claimed that months before the subject accident, it had cancelled a lease with Pennington’s wife who owned the tractor-trailer that Pennington was driving, and thereafter his wife had a lease with PTX. WCT asserted that evidence showed Pennington was operating the tractor-trailer under PTX’s authority.

The court granted summary judgment to WCT and dismissed the defendant from the case.

The matter was resolved by a $95,000 settlement between Elias and Piguet.

JVR 1806130046

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