Judge dismisses elderly Texas couple's suit against Oklahoma company

Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau Oct. 18, 2007, 6:00am

MARSHALL – U.S. District Judge T. John Ward dismissed a motor vehicle personal injury case initiated by an elderly Texas couple against an Oklahoma oil and gas company.

On Oct. 17, Ward accepted an agreed motion to dismiss with prejudice in the case of Thurman and Ettie Berryhill against Kimray Inc. The agreement declared "all matters of fact and things in controversy have been fully and finally compromised and settled."

The married 77- and 81-year-olds filed the original lawsuit claiming Kimray Inc.'s driver Ralph Messer Jr. crossed a road's centerline and hit their vehicle in July 2006.

The Berryhills claimed the car accident was caused by Kimray's driver crossing of the center stripe, not paying attention or controlling his vehicle and failing to timely apply the brakes. They also argued that Kimray Inc. is liable for negligence in training, monitoring and entrusting its vehicle to its employee.

In the original complaint, the couple was seeking damages in excess of $75,000 for physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment, physical disfigurement, loss of capacity to work and medical expenses.

The Berryhill's were also seeking punitive damages alleging Kimray's actions were committed with malice and conscious indifference.

Kimray admits that the driver was its employee, but denies he crossed the center stripe causing the accident. In its original answer, Kimray denies the rest of the plaintiffs' allegations.

Judge Ward referred the case to mediator Walter E. Parker in April. Details of the mediation were not disclosed prior to Judge Ward's order granting the motion to dismiss.

Founded in 1948, Oklahoma-based Kimray Inc. is a family-owned and operated, manufacturer of oil and gas equipment and controls. With a strong commitment to providing a safe and wholesome working environment, Kimray describes its employees as setting the standard of service within the industry.

Attorney Don Wheeler of Center represented the plaintiffs.

Case No.: 2:06cv00509

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