Law.com’s Daily Report recently spotlighted a $750,000 settlement Butler Kahn obtained on behalf of the victim of Georgia moving truck accident. The item appeared on the April 26, 2021, edition of the online news source.
Early in the morning of July 10, 2020, the driver of a commercial Freightliner truck lost control and ran off the road in Rabun County in northeastern Georgia. As the truck left the road, it flipped and fell into a ravine. As a result of the truck accident, a young man was ejected from the truck and sustained several serious injuries.
Sami Marinnie Jr., who worked as an independent contractor for the moving company that owned the truck, was subsequently airlifted to a medical center in nearby Gainesville. Marinnie underwent spinal fusion surgery, lost several fingers on one hand, and also received treatment for head injuries. Sadly, Marinnie was later found dead on New Year’s Day due to a prescription Fentanyl overdose.
According to attorneys at Butler Kahn, the Atlanta-based firm that represented Marinnie, a significant amount of investigative work was required to determine who was financially responsible for the crash that injured their client. However, as a result of their exhaustive investigation, Butler Kahn was able to recover a $750,000 settlement for his estate.
How Did the Brothers and Father Use Shell Companies?
The truck driver who caused the crash, Beau Contreras, pled guilty to traffic citations for driving too fast for conditions and failing to stay within road lanes. Locating the at-fault driver was not the problem. To seek rightful compensation for their client, Butler Kahn had to find the company responsible for the truck in the first place.
When attorney Jeb Butler began looking into the wreck, he found that the truck had bills of lading and registration numbers associated with unfamiliar companies. This is apparently common among “churn and burn” shipping companies trying to avoid oversight by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
In this case, the three Florida brothers and their father who owned the truck had developed a network of shell companies to avoid responsibility. Through this scheme, the four men provided moving services in multiple states and denied knowledge or accountability anytime something went wrong.
Butler Kahn Pushed Through for Their Clients
After Marinnie’s unfortunate passing, his parents and his estate became clients of Butler Kahn. On December 2, 2020, the firm filed a lawsuit in Gwinnett County against seven entities. Defendants included Beau Contreras, Adept Moving and Storage, and Progressive Commercial Insurance.
According to Butler, one of his primary concerns was the possibility that defendants would use workers’ compensation law as a defense. Under workers’ compensation laws, injured employees are typically barred from suing their employers.
However, Butler Kahn provided ample evidence to prove that Marinnie was an independent contractor rather than a legal employee. For one, Marinnie found the job through a Craigslist ad. He was paid in cash on a per-job basis. Since he only worked for the company for a few weeks, no tax documents suggested Marinnie was an employee.
After months of thorough research, Butler Kahn managed to locate an insurance policy for Adept Moving that provided $750,000 in coverage. We demanded the full coverage amount on behalf of our clients and successfully negotiated a settlement agreement in April 2021.
This case exemplifies the efforts that the team at Butler Kahn puts forth in every case we handle. We are thorough in our investigations and will leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of the truth. If you’ve been hurt, contact us for help. We’re ready to do everything in our power to pursue the justice and compensation that you deserve.