Jury assigns 50/50 blame to defendant, plaintiff

David Yates Mar. 30, 2010, 5:49am

A Jefferson County jury has found that both the plaintiff and defendant in an automobile collision trial were each 50 percent responsible for causing the wreck.

The trial, which began March 23 and ended the following day, centered on Jennifer Taylor, who allegedly failed to apply her brakes in time and struck Murrel Merchant's vehicle.

Jurors found that Taylor and Merchant were both equally negligent in causing the automobile collision, awarding no damages.

Under Texas Civil, a jury must find the defendant 51 percent negligent in order to award damages.

According to his original lawsuit, Merchant claims the May 3, 2006, "collision occurred because of the recklessness and carelessness of Taylor."

"Plaintiff suffered severe personal injuries as a proximate result of the negligent acts of defendant," the suit states. "Therefore, the plaintiff will ask the jury to find an amount of compensatory damages that are fair and reasonable under the circumstances."

The suit does not give specifics on where or how the incident occurred, nor does the suit describe Merchant's alleged injuries.

Merchant asked jurors to award him damages for his past and future emotional distress, medical expenses and lost wages.

He was represented by Reaud, Morgan & Quinn attorney Mary Bradford.

Taylor was represented by attorney Mitch Templeton of the Chambers, Templeton, Cashiola & Thomas law firm.

Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd Judicial District, presided over the trial.

Case No. A181-192

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