Plaintiffs, a family of four, were travelling through North Carolina when they were rear-ended by a tractor-trailer.  The accident caused the death of a 23 year old and paralyzed her mother from the waist down.  The husband and son were also injured.  The life care plan of the paralyzed mother was valued up to $3,800,000 and her future lost earning capacity was around $1,000,000.   Her past medical expenses were over $600,000.  The economic loss of decedent was $1,200,000.  In addition to the economic damages, the family sought damages for past and future pain and suffering, permanency, loss of companionship, society and services.  There were no statutory limits that applied to Plaintiffs’ damages.

Due to the limited liability limits of the motor carrier, the plaintiffs sued the truck broker and shipper asserting multiple causes of action including negligent selection/hiring/retention, agency, joint venture and punitive damages. The defense included several standard of care experts to combat Plaintiffs’ experts.

The case was litigated for several years and after discovery Cranfill Sumner attorneys moved for summary judgment to dismiss all claims against our client.  In response to our summary judgment motion, Plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint to allege additional causes of action against our client, for a total of over 10.  As such, in addition to having briefed and prepared to argue the summary judgment motions, we had to brief in opposition to the motion to amend the amended complaint, and further reply to the plaintiffs’ briefs in opposition to summary judgment.  After a hearing the Court granted summary judgment in favor of our client, a national shipper, one month before trial.

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