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David M. Paris represented a young man who worked for the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission and was part of a crew making repairs to the Ohio Turnpike. A well-marked construction zone had been established, closing the right two westbound lanes and leaving the left westbound lane open to traffic. At that time, an 18-wheeler traveling westbound drifted gradually into the construction zone without evidence of slowing, breaking, or swerving. The truck struck several pieces of construction equipment, which in turn were pushed into our client, causing a traumatic brain injury, cognitive deficits, and several serious orthopedic injuries.
We sued the truck driver and his employer, claiming that he fell asleep at the wheel and that the employer was negligent and reckless in permitting the driver to remain behind the wheel when it knew, and should have known, that he was incompetent and a danger to himself and other motorists on the road.
Evidence uncovered showed that one year before this collision the driver had a psychotic breakdown which required involuntary hospitalization. His psychiatrist released him to return to truck driving and took him off anti-psychotic medication. Four months later, he was reprimanded for conduct which should have been appreciated as manic rather than insubordinate. The company took no steps to have the driver re-evaluated. Six months later, this accident occurred. Proof that this accident was related to the driver’s psychotic behavior was evidenced by his post-accident comments that his “saliva was the vector for the alien invasion.”
Our client sustained a loss of earning capacity in the amount of $2.4M and a life care plan in the amount of $6.4M. The case resolved at mediation, shortly before trial.