City of Beaumont settles case over officer’s collision

David Yates Apr. 20, 2015, 3:18pm

Rather than go to trial, the city of Beaumont has opted to settle a suit brought over an officer’s collision.

The case stems from a suit brought by area resident Justin Jackson, who sued the city in March 2012, alleging an officer crashed into his vehicle and caused it to flip into a concrete retaining wall.

According to the original petition, on June 17, 2010, Jackson was traveling east on Interstate 10 approaching a lane merger when BPD officer Randy Earl crashed into him, causing Jackson’s vehicle to flip forward and land on its side against a concrete retaining wall.

Court records show that on Aug. 7 the city filed a plea to the jurisdiction. A hearing on the matter was held on Sept. 19.

When Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, did not make an official ruling on the spot, the city filed an accelerated appeal on the same day of the hearing.

On Nov. 6 the Ninth Court dismissed the appeal, stating in their opinion that the court lacked “jurisdiction because the trial court has not signed an appealable order.”

A week later, on Nov. 14, the city filed a motion for rehearing, arguing justices erred in dismissing its appeal.

On appeal, the city argued officer Earl was on his unpaid lunch break at the time of the incident and therefore not in the scope of his employment, even though he was driving a city vehicle.

Jackson, the plaintiff in the case, had sued the city under the legal doctrine respondeat superior.

On Dec. 18 the Ninth Court denied the city’s petition, court records show.

The case was set to go to trial Monday, April 20, but settled beforehand, according to a courthouse official.

Jackson was seeking damages for his alleged past and future medical expenses, mental anguish, pain, impairment, disfigurement and lost wages, plus all court costs.

Beaumont attorney David Starnes represents him.

The city is represented by attorneys Quentin Price and Tyrone Cooper.

Jefferson County case No. B192-252

Appeals case No. 09-14-00412-CV

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