In the largest wrongful death jury verdict ever awarded in Contra Costa County, Luke Ellis recovered $11.7 million for the wife and daughter of a man killed during a County road construction project.
William Tindall, a 56 year-old journeyman plumber, pulled over to aid a fellow motorist whose car slid off a curve on Marsh Creek Road after encountering loose gravel left overnight during a road construction project. When Mr. Tindall exited his car to help the driver, he was struck and killed by a second car that slid off the road in the same curve.
The County claimed that the sole cause of the accident was the speed of the two motorists, who were travelling between 40 and 45 MPH at the curve. The County contended that the drivers failed to obey numerous ‘Loose Gravel’ and ‘25 MPH’ signs.
GJEL uncovered evidence of 15 prior accidents that occurred during 21 days of similar construction on Marsh Creek Road. GJEL also introduced evidence that the County violated state traffic signage manuals and safe construction practices by not covering or removing conflicting permanent speeds signs, and by leaving loose gravel on the road overnight, while it was open to traffic.
The jury found the County 100% liable. The trial lasted a month and ended a long legal battle for the wife and daughter of Mr. Tindall. Prior to trial, several other defendants settled out of court with GJEL for an additional $ 1.3 million dollars.