On April 26, 2019, a jury from the First Judicial Circuit, Orangeburg County, South Carolina awarded $33.6 million to a father and son and against JHOC, Inc. and its driver for alleged permanent back and neck injuries suffered by the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs claimed that they suddenly stopped while travelling on I-26 due to a disabled vehicle partially blocking the roadway, and the JHOC, Inc. driver was driving too fast and failed to allow assured clear distance. After a five-day trial, with just two hours of deliberation, the jury found that the driver for JHOC, Inc. negligently rear-ended the vehicle driven by Brandon Glover, 23, and his father Willie Glover, 51. The jury found that the driver acted recklessly and awarded a total of $20.6 million to Brandon Glover, with $16 million from that amount being for punitive damages, and a total of $12.6 million to Willie Glover, with $9 million from that amount being for punitive damages (as there were $1 million in punitive damages awarded against Willie Glover). The damages awards reflect the fact that the jury apportioned 90% of the fault to JHOC, Inc. and its driver, and 10% to Willie Glover.
This verdict is yet another example of the runaway verdicts seen in trucking-accident litigation across the country. It is now more important than ever for trucking companies to thoroughly investigate as soon as an accident occurs.