Civil Plaintiff

The King of Trucking Does it Again – $150 Million Settlement

Brent Goudarzi, trial lawyer with the Texas trial firm Goudarzi & Young, has obtained a $150 Million-Dollar wrongful death settlement in a case involving an 18-wheeler crash and the death of two young children. The settlement is the largest settlement of an 18-wheeler wreck in U.S. history. Goudarzi previously held the record at $140 million dollars in another trucking case settled in 2019.

The family, including the two young children, were traveling back home through Texas and experienced some car trouble, which left their vehicle disabled in the far-right lane of Interstate 30. There were five occupants in the family vehicle: a driver, two adult passengers and two children. The children, ages 7 and 9, were securely buckled in the back seat. The adults exited the vehicle to try to assess and/or fix the problem when a fully loaded Werner 18-wheeler, traveling at interstate speeds, rear ended the vehicle. The impact trapped the two children inside the car. The children were killed by flames and smoke that engulfed the passenger compartment.

The lawsuit filed by Brent Goudarzi, managing partner of Goudarzi & Young, against Werner Enterprises included the following:

  • alleged the driver of the 18-wheeler was negligent and grossly negligent in the operation of the tractor-trailer;
  • alleged that Werner was negligent in its hiring, training and supervision of the driver;
  • alleged Werner was negligent by entrusting the 18-wheeler to a truck driver the company knew or should have known was unsafe.

After the initial police investigation, the driver of the family vehicle, the uncle of the deceased children, was indicted for criminally negligent homicide by the local authorities. At the time of the indictment the police could not have known that Goudarzi would prove that the Werner driver was speeding, in violation of Werner policies, driving beyond the maximum hours allowed by law, had falsified his logbooks, and ignored at least three emergency warnings in the cab of his truck before violently rear-ending the family car. The driver of the family vehicle was not a defendant in the civil action, nor did he participate in the settlement payments. The uncle is still facing criminally negligent homicide charges.

In a recent press release, Werner implied that the family vehicle suffering car trouble and coming to a stop partially in the roadway was the actual cause of the collision. Werner’s chief legal counsel, Nathan Miesgeier, claimed that the stopped vehicle on the roadside “set in motion” the tragic events of that night. The Werner press release did not include any refence to the fact that Goudarzi was able to prove that the driver in question should not have been behind the wheel of the truck that night at all and that Werner and their driver were violating federal law by doing so.

Even with a member of the family charged with a crime related to the cause of the collision, Brent Goudarzi was able to secure a $150 million-dollar settlement from the motor carrier based on the actions of it and its employees. This, obviously, speaks volumes about the nature of the case built by Goudarzi representing the family.

The court record indicates a number of apparently hard-fought discovery battles before Goudarzi was able to secure the record settlement amount.

Werner pointed to concerns over “nuclear verdicts” as the reason for reaching the record settlement in this case. Goudarzi is quoted saying, “It was a very hard-fought litigated case. This case is an example of the absolute dangerousness of 18-wheelers on American highways and that there is an absolute need for companies to make sure that they have competent drivers who are not overworked and allowed to drive despite the fact that they are clearly fatigued. No company should ever put profit over safety. No family should ever have to suffer such a horrific loss. We are grateful that we were able to serve our clients under these tragic circumstances. We know this settlement will hold Werner and other trucking companies accountable for accidents that could have been prevented. We will continue to fight to make our roadways safe for Texas families so that this kind of catastrophic loss ends.”

Goudarzi said settling the lawsuit gave the family closure, and the family hopes that no other family would have to endure such a tragic loss.

Goudarzi added that the family also hopes the lawsuit will serve as a constant reminder to the transportation industry that American families and lawyers will stand up to trucking companies t0 hold them accountable if they continue to allow fatigued drivers on American highways.

Co-counsel on this case included Terris Harris and John Givens of The Cochran Firm and James Rogers of The Moore Firm.

Leave a Review or Comment

Back to top button