$30m Ruling Against FedEx Freight After Fatal Collision in Texas
A jury in Harris County in Texas handed down the verdict.
David Forehand, the driver of a FedEx Freight truck, was held 49% responsible for the crash that took the life of Joseph Cargel. Cargel was driving for XPO Logistics at the time. FedEx was held 51% responsible due to FedEx’s negligence in training and supervising Forehand.
Devon McNulty, a partner with the firm of Chandler McNulty, who represented family members who sued FedEx, said that he did not believe the compensation constituted a nuclear verdict. “I don’t know what a nuclear verdict is,” McNulty said in an email to FreightWaves. “Possibly nine figures and above.” He also noted that Joseph Cargal’s widow had settled with XPO and its insurance carriers separately.
The original complaint filed in the lawsuit explains that the FedEx Freight truck driven by Forehand was headed south on U.S. Highway 59 near Tenaha. Cargal was headed north. The collision transpired at around 1:30 a.m. in the rain on a highway that was on a four-lane road with no median strip or divider. “Under the dark of night, on wet roads, in a pouring rain, and while carrying a combined gross vehicle weight rate in excess of 135,000 pounds, Defendant … was traveling at an excessive speed and failed to maintain his own lane,” the complaint says. The complaint goes on to say, “Without warning and while failing to drive as a reasonably prudent commercial driver under the same or similar circumstances, Forehand veered into the oncoming northbound lanes of traffic and hit Cargal head-on.”
Cargal suffered severe burns, blunt force trauma on the head and torso, and was pronounced dead at the scene.
McNulty said that the recent case “only went to verdict because the risk was miscalculated by FedEx Freight”. In a written email he describes, “The evidence was there all along. Most of our large trucking cases settle well before a jury sees the evidence.” He went on to explain that the FedEx truck had outward-facing cameras and a state trooper and crash reconstructionist “were able to easily calculate [Forehand’s] speed from the time and distance traveled shown.”
After a nine-day trial, the jury vote was unanimous.
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