Attorneys Alan M. Feldman, Daniel J. Mann and Edward S. Goldis secured a $15.57 million verdict for Isaac Espinoza, a pedestrian who was struck by a commercial truck-tractor driven by Ricky Hatfield, an independent contractor performing work for broker J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc.
The plaintiff was on the shoulder of I-81 north near Chambersburg, PA, assisting a friend whose vehicle was disabled, when he was run down by the truck-tractor. Mr. Hatfield fled the scene of the accident on foot and was arrested nearby. His blood alcohol contant (BAC) was measured to be .171, over four times the legal limit for drivers of commercial vehicles. He was charged and convicted of DUI and other related offenses, and is currently incarcerated.
This case focused not only on the conduct of Mr. Hatfield, which was indefensible, but also on the decision of J.B. Hunt. to enter into an “Outsource Carriage Agreement” with Mr. Hatfield, an independent owner operator, without conducting any background check. The jury found Mr. Hatfield 60% responsible for the accident, but also recognized the company’s role in contributing to the accident by apportioning 40% of the verdict to J. B. Hunt.
As a result of this incident, Mr. Espinoza sustained catastrophic disabling injuries, and will require constant care for the remainder of his life.