SAN ANTONIO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A Maricopa County jury in Mesa, Arizona returned a $19.25 million verdict against interstate trucking company, Landstar Ranger, Inc. Brought by Kathy Bruno, surviving spouse of Michael Bruno, his daughters Renee Bruno and Anne Bruno, his mother, Nina Bruno, and family friend, Desiree Sierra, the case involved a crash between the Brunos' pick-up and a tractor-trailer operated by Landstar.
Landstar’s driver, Willard Gray, had parked his vehicle on the unpaved shoulder, or apron, of U.S. Highway 93, even though a 60-foot wide pull-out area was available immediately adjacent to where he chose to park. The Brunos’ vehicle suffered a right-front Michelin tire delamination, causing the vehicle to pull off the roadway. Michael Bruno unsuccessfully tried to steer the vehicle back on the road, but instead hit the back of the Landstar trailer forcing him under the trailer when the rear under-ride guard built by Hyundai failed.
The jury found Landstar solely at fault, found Bruno was not negligent, and awarded the various passengers of the vehicle almost $20 million in wrongful death and personal injury damages.
Guy Watts, of Austin, Texas, and Mikal Watts, of San Antonio, Texas, of WATTS GUERRA, LLP, and Brett Slavicek of THE SLAVICEK LAW FIRM in Phoenix, Arizona, and Alan Wilson of THE WILSON LAW FIRM in Tempe, Arizona, tried the case for the Plaintiffs.
Phillip Stanfield and Jeremy Johnson of JONES, SKELTON & HOCHULI in Phoenix, Arizona, tried the case for Defendant Landstar Ranger, Inc.
Guy Watts stated, “We are pleased to bring justice to the Bruno family, who lost a good man for no good reason. If this truck was not parked just off the road, he’d be alive and well today.”
Mikal Watts stated:
“The jury’s verdict sends an important message to trucking companies about the critical importance of training their drivers to park as far off the traveled portion of the roadway as possible. It is well known to this industry that vehicles with mechanical difficulties will from time-to-time, exit the traveled portion of the roadway, and require a clear-out area, to enable them to recover. When an 80,000 pound tractor-trailer is parked in an area where it should not be, this creates an unnecessary hazard which can cost good people their lives.”