Jeffco jurors send a message

The SE Texas Record Jan. 19, 2008, 6:22am

When is $250 worse than zilch?

That's when you're Glynn Fowler wanting tens of thousands in damages for old injuries and mental anguish suffered in a 2002 auto collision with an elderly woman.

On Wednesday, a Jefferson County jury awarded Fowler $4,500--not the $60,000-plus he sought--for past medical bills. It gave him a meager $250 for the anguish.

It's safe to say jurors didn't share his anguish.

While Fowler looks and seems quite healthy, he explained in court that the crash worsened his neck condition.

The 50 year old doesn't have a job, and cannot even do chores around the house. He testified his 12-year-old daughter does them. Fowler says he's relegated to the couch, watching TV.

Perhaps that's a partial reason for the anguish. The rest of it, he said, is derived from the trauma of what he suffered immediately after the accident.

Fowler says his alleged assailant--senior citizen Virginia Olsberg-- yelled at him.

She also accused him of faking his neck injury, right there on the scene. Neck injuries are difficult to disprove and can be associated with fraud. So the accusation was upsetting--anguishing--to Fowler.

Olsberg doesn't deny she caused the accident or that she was suspicious. Her insurance has paid Fowler an undisclosed amount, effectively admitting liability. But she claims she didn't yell at him, rather he yelled at her.

Fowler told the court he may have said some things, too. He was angry. Most of us are when we're in a car crash, whether it's our fault or not.

With a $250 verdict for anguish, the jury sent a clear and convincing message. Anger and accidents are problems to resolve, not opportunities to exploit.

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