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September 2021

Federal Jury Sides with Defendant in Case Involving Wrongful Death Claim

Ed Taylor and Katie Van Camp obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death action before a federal district court jury in Gulfport, MS. The case involved an accident in which the defense claimed that the deceased, a 17-year-old high school senior, rear-ended another vehicle that was making a left turn on a two-lane highway. The impact caused the minor’s vehicle to move into the defendant’s lane of traffic, which resulted in a head-on collision. Data from the “black box” indicated that the two impacts occurred less than a second apart and that defendant was traveling 73 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone.  Defendant also did not slow as he approached the intersection, as required by Mississippi statutory law. After this impact, the defendant’s vehicle rolled numerous times down the roadway before coming to a rest.

Plaintiff presented an entirely different version of the accident. In closing argument, the plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury to return a $2,000,000.00 verdict.  Plaintiff obtained two negligence per se instructions as to the speeding and failure to slow at the intersection.  Defense counsel argued that the defendant’s conduct relative to speeding and not slowing at the intersection were not a proximate cause of the accident, and the jury agreed.