By Anders Blewett
In a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals has affirmed a $2.5 million verdict rendered by a Butte jury in a wrongful death lawsuit involving a trucking accident which occurred in Montana. In the case Messick/Bowman v. Patrol Helicopters, Plaintiffs filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Patrol Helicopter alleging that the driver of a truck failed to signal and caused the deaths and serious injuries of the Plaintiffs who were in a vehicle which attempted to pass the truck.
The insurance company refused to accept liability for the accident and only offered $250,000 to settle the case prior to trial. After a seven day trial, a Butte jury determined that the truck driver caused the accident and was responsible for paying all Plaintiffs’ damages under Montana law. This verdict was one of the largest personal injury verdicts obtained in Montana in 2008. A copy of the Court’s opinion is available here.