The Louisiana Supreme Court on March 16, 2010, reversed in part and affirmed in part the matter of Brewer v. J.B. Hunt Transport, 2009-1408 c/w 2009-1428. Brewer was permanently and severely injured when his pick-up truck rear-ended and rode underneath an 18 wheeler on I-12 in Livingston Parish, Louisiana.
The Twenty-First Judicial District Court for the Parish of Livingston entered judgment on the jury verdict finding Brewer 100% at fault for the rear-end collision. The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal reversed based on the trial court’s legal error in allowing evidence of Brewer’s unrelated prior bad acts (pre-accident drug use and arrests) into evidence, and on de novo review, found Brewer 40% at fault for the rear-end collision and the 18 wheel tractor trailer driver 60% at fault for suddenly changing lanes in a construction zone and into Brewer’s lane of travel. The Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal awarded a total of $10,677,634.93 in special damages and $2,500,000.00 in general damages for Brewer’s injuries, which included a traumatic injury to the right anterior temporal lobe of his brain, resulting in bed-wetting, seizures, short-term memory deficits, a lowered IQ, personality changes, and disinhibition.
The Louisiana Supreme Court found that the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal’s de novo review of the trial court judgment was inappropriate because the bad acts evidence was directly related to the central issue of damages and not to the central issue of liability, which was the basis for the jury’s ultimate conclusion. However, the Louisiana Supreme Court still determined that the jury’s allocation of fault between the parties was manifestly erroneous. The Louisiana Supreme Court reversed the allocation of fault and reassessed fault 70% to Brewer and 30% to the 18 wheel tractor trailer operator.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured or suffered a wrongful death in an 18 wheeler accident, contact the Baton Rouge, Louisiana truck accident attorneys at Dué, Guidry, Piedrahita & Andrews. Email Louisiana injury lawyers or call (800) 929-7481 to schedule a free consultation.