Successful Trial Against Commercial Motor Vehicle Carrier & “John Doe”


Butler Law Firm took a commercial motor vehicle carrier and a “John Doe” defendant to trial in Clayton County this week. The case arose from an automobile collision—when “John Doe” cut off a line of cars on the interstate, our client was forced to stop and was then rear-ended by a commercial vehicle that failed to stop in time. John Doe fled the scene. Our client incurred $34,478.29 in medical bills. During the first day of trial, after two years of litigation, the commercial motor vehicle carrier paid $460,000 to settle the case.

Jeb Butler with a Plaintiff’s Trial Exhibit No. 3.

The trial proceeded against “John Doe,” who was defended by the uninsured motorist insurer and ably represented by Hilliard Castilla of Waldon, Adelman, Castilla, Heistand & Prout. On the third day of trial, the parties completed closing arguments. On the morning of the fourth day, the Court was to charge the jury and the jury was to begin deliberating. But mayhem intervened—some jurors got into a heated argument over personal matters unrelated to the case. At the defendant’s urging, the Court held that further deliberations would be impossible and declared a mistrial.

Before dismissing the jury, however, the Court polled the ten jurors who remained after their boisterous brethren had been sent home. The average of their findings as to damages was $259,848.02, which—after accounting for apportionment to the driver of the commercial truck—would have resulted in an additional $135,867.82 for our client.

It was a good week. We were able to obtain an excellent recovery for our client against the commercial carrier, and the case against “John Doe” continues with a retrial expected in August.