A federal judge declined to reduce the jury award of $26.5 million and refused to grant a new trial in a fatal road-rage crash in Oregon. The case involved two trucking companies and their drivers who were alleged to be engaged in a dangerous cat-and-mouse game that killed a 30-year-old woman in 2016.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Patricia Sullivan affirmed the federal jury’s verdict and rejected one transportation company’s argument that counsel for the victims improperly used the “reptile theory,” a litigation strategy used by some plaintiffs’ attorneys to ask jurors to send a message to trucking companies by awarding large verdicts.
Following a two-week trial in May 2019, an Oregon jury awarded the $26.5 million against the two trucking companies and its drivers, who were involved in a fatal crash that killed Sara Allison and severely injured her husband, Matthew, of Boise, Idaho, back on June 5, 2016, near Burns, Oregon.
According to court documents, Sara Allison was driving east on U.S. 20 when she crashed head-on with a truck driven by James Decou, who drove for Smoot Enterprises, headquartered in Brigham City, Utah.