United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed what is believed to be the largest personal injury verdict in Kansas’s history against Swift Transportation. The $23.5 million verdicts followed a lengthy jury trial in US District Court in Wichita.
The winning lawyers Lynn R. Johnson of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, Chtd., Kansas City, Missouri, (Scott E. Nutter of Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, Chtd., Kansas City, Missouri, and Michael W. Blanton of the Law Offices of Michael W. Blanton, Leawood, Kansas, with him on the briefs) for Plaintiffs-Appellees/Cross-Appellants.
The Swift Transportation driver lied on her job application about past drug use, felony convictions, and license suspensions. Discovery revealed that the Swift driver lacked the experience; qualifications and training to safely operate her rig.
The Swift driver backed out of a rest stop into oncoming traffic while under the influence of meth. She plowed into a Yellow Freight 18 wheeler severely injuring the driver and killing the co-driver.
The jury came back after six and a half hours of deliberation with a verdict of $19.5 million in damages for Mr. Frederick and $4 million for Donna Frederick, his wife. Under New Mexico law, no caps apply to the verdict. The jury assigned 35 percent fault to Mr. Frederick’s co-driver reducing the net judgment to $15.275 million.