Suit: Phantom vehicle may have caused collision

David Yates Sep. 6, 2007, 9:18am

It doesn't matter to Michael Volden whether it was a "phantom vehicle" or "intoxicated" driving that caused a Meaux Surface Protection, Inc. employee to lose control of his vehicle and slam into a highway guard rail.

Either way, Volden says he was injured in the accident and wants compensation. However, how the accident occurred does matter to Progressive County Mutual Insurance and its agent Janice Holland – the insurance carrier that represents the Meaux employee.

Volden claims he submitted an "under-insured motorist claim" to Progressive some time ago, but the insurance company still has not investigated the accident or agreed to accept or deny his claim."

Perhaps weary of waiting, Volden filed a lawsuit against Meaux, Progressive and agent Holland with the Orange County District Court on Aug. 30.

According to the plaintiff's original petition, on Sept. 23, 2006, a Meaux employee had been drinking on the job and lost control of his vehicle when a "phantom vehicle driven by John Doe" stuck him. The employee slammed into an Interstate 10 guard rail, near the F.M. 1132 exit, "causing the plaintiffs injuries."

The suit does not explain how Volden came to be injured in the incident or if he was a passenger, driver of another vehicle or a bystander.

"(The employee) was legally impaired due to his alcohol consumption…such conduct amounts to malice," the suit said.

Volden is suing for exemplary damages, plus past and future medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, impairment and disfigurement.

Volden is represented by Houston attorney Scott Lidji.

The case has been assigned to the 260th Judicial District.

Case No. D070426.c

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