$25 K judgment for plaintiff in automobile wreck trial

David Yates Jan. 30, 2008, 6:55am

Jurors awarded nearly $25,000 to Jewelene Berry on Wednesday, Jan. 23, for damages she suffered in a 2006 automobile collision.

The trial of Berry vs. Charles Larry Stewart began Jan. 21 in Judge Gary Sanderson's 60th District Court.

Berry filed suit against Stewart in December 2006, claiming Stewart negligently caused an automobile collision on Oct. 16, 2006.

During the trial, motions in limine prohibited the defense from discussing any benefits Berry received after the accident from car insurance companies; mentioning any of Berry's past suits and/or settlements; or saying that frivolous lawsuits have an adverse affect on insurance rates and the economy.

According to her suit, Berry was driving her 2001 Ford Taurus northbound on 11th Street in Beaumont. She was in the far left lane when Stewart, who was traveling westbound on Broadway, failed to stop at a stop sign and slammed into her vehicle.

"As a result of said collision, Plaintiff sustained severe and permanent personal injuries to her head, neck, left shoulder, lower back and body in general," the suit said, adding that the collision was solely caused by Stewart when he failed to maintain proper control of his vehicle.

In his original answer to Berry's suit, Stewart had asserted that the collision was caused by "natural causes without human intervention, which no amount of foresight or reasonable care could have prevented."

Jurors awarded Berry $7,692.10 for past medical expenses, $7,500 for her physical impairment, and $9,803.94 in mental anguish damages.

Although the case was assigned to Sanderson's court, the charge of the jury was signed by Judge Bob Wortham, 58th District Court.

Stewart was represented by the Benckenstein, Norvell & Nathan law firm.

Berry was represented by the Ferguson Firm.

Case No. B178-267

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