Deloris Butler, et al vs. Billy David, The Town of Welsh, and Southern Insurance Company
Mike Sistrunk and Matt Garver obtained a favorable result for the Town of Welsh, Louisiana and one of its police officers, Billy David. On October 6, 2012, Officer Billy David was responding to a non-emergency call when he merged onto I-10 eastbound and caused a motor vehicle accident. Mr. David merged into a lane occupied by a vehicle owned by Deloris Butler. The Butler vehicle avoided a collision with Mr. David, but spun in the median and was subsequently struck by an 18-wheeler operated by Panfilo Carrillo. Both vehicles suffered significant damage. At the time of trial, Panfilo Carrillo was the remaining plaintiff. Carrillo alleged injury to his low back and neck. A low back MRI showed that Carrillo had disc herniations at L2-3 and L4-5. Plaintiff’s treating neurosurgeon opined that he needed either a single level discectomy or a multi-level fusion, depending upon the condition of his spine at the time of surgery. Carrillo’s past medical expenses totaled over $30,000 and future medical expenses ranged from $45,000 to $150,000. Carrillo employed a vocational rehabilitation expert and an economist to quantify his claim for loss of future earning capacity. On cross examination, Carrillo admitted that he was following the preceding car too closely so as not to delay his delivery. Additionally, the nature and extent of Carrillo’s injuries were called into question by a defense expert. In closing, Carrillo’s attorney asked the jury for over $1.1 million. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff, finding that Officer David was solely at fault for the accident. The jury awarded Carrillo his past medical expenses of $30,493 and general damages of $55,000, for a total award of $85,493. The jury’s verdict mirrored what Mr. Garver suggested in closing. The plaintiff appealed to the 3rd Circuit, which increased the damages award by $25,000.