Employed by a contractor in Mobile County, Alabama, the plaintiff was working a “shutdown” at an industrial plant in Shreveport, Louisiana. After getting off work on July 30, 2014, she was driving to a local clothing store to make a purchase for her granddaughter. It was daylight on a clear afternoon when the plaintiff's full-sized sport utility vehicle (SUV) was hit head-on in her lane of travel by a Smith Oil Company truck. The Smith Oil truck hit the plaintiff's SUV with such force that it stopped it, knocked it backward approximately 30 feet and onto its side. Eyewitnesses to the accident stated that the Smith Oil Company truck, driven by employee Dennis Eugene Endsley, Jr., had swerved over the centerline multiple times before the crash. They also stated that the plaintiff did not have an opportunity to avoid the collision.
As a result of the crash, the plaintiff was traumatically injured. She suffered a ruptured aorta, ruptured intestine, lung injury, broken wrists, a broken hand, at least six broken ribs, and in addition to being crushed, broken bones in her left leg and foot, as well as other injuries. She endured multiple surgeries, and incurred more than $250,000 in medical bills.
Cunningham Bounds filed suit in Shreveport, Louisiana. Law firm investigator Glenn Garside uncovered that on July 30 before the accident, Smith Oil Company had received at least one, and possibly two, telephone calls from concerned motorists about Endsley’s unsafe driving of the Smith Oil Company truck. These reports were communicated to upper management who did not follow-up with the callers. The investigation also uncovered that when Endsley returned to the office after these calls had been received, he was observed by two co-workers as lethargic, sleepy and “out of it.” One or more employees told management that he was not acting right and should not be driving. Again, management did not follow-up by sending him for a random drug screening, inspecting the vehicle he had been driving or by taking away his keys. Instead, the company sent him home in his assigned company vehicle, thus putting him and others at risk, and resulting in the head-on collision with the plaintiff's SUV.
Plaintiffs alleged that the defendant Smith Oil Company acted both negligently and wantonly in entrusting the truck to Endsley who was impaired. Plaintiffs also alleged that Mr. Endsley was negligent and wanton by operating the Smith Oil Company vehicle while he was impaired due to drugs.
Cunningham Bounds took more than 25 depositions of witnesses, including experts, from Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama and South Carolina. Several weeks before the June 20, 2016, jury trial that was to take place in Shreveport, Louisiana, a $6,500,000 settlement was obtained on behalf of Cunningham Bounds’ clients. George W. “Skip” Finkbohner, III and Toby D. Brown served as counsel for the plaintiff.