Injured Landscaper Settles for Philadelphia Record $26.55 Million
In the largest single personal injury settlement from the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, plaintiff David Williams recently resolved his lawsuit for $26.55 million dollars. Williams, a landscaper for TruGreen lawn care, was ejected from a TruGreen-owned truck after crashing in a rainstorm. Williams suffered a fractured spinal cord, resulting in paralysis.
Plaintiff sued TruGreen, his employer who owned the truck involved in the accident; ServiceMaster, TruGreen’s parent company; and vehicle maintenance companies Dickinson Fleet Services and Brooks Auto Repair. Williams claimed that TruGreen had a duty to ensure its work vehicles were in safe working condition, yet failed to do so. Williams also argued that Dickinson Fleet Services was at fault as it failed to take the truck out of service when inspecting it three days prior to the accident. Although a Dickinson field technician found that the right rear tire had insufficient tread and needed to be replaced, he neglected to “sticker” the truck to indicate that it should be taken out of service. Williams also claimed that Brooks Auto repair failed to replace or rotate the back tires and just replaced the front tires.
TruGreen contended that Dickinson was at blame as it failed to provide adequate notice about the tire treads and further argued that Williams was contributorily negligent because he drove too fast for the road conditions. Dickinson argued it did not have the authority to remove the truck from service and fulfilled the extent of its obligation.
Ultimately, the parties agreed that ServiceMaster and TruGreen would contribute $16.75 million to settlement, while Dickinson would contribute $9.5 million and Brooks Auto Repair $300,000.
Thanks to Chelsea Rendelman for her contribution to this post and please write to Mike Bono for more information.