Jurors punish SJ Transportation with $115K verdict for trucker's collision

David Yates Feb. 28, 2011, 4:28am

A Jefferson County jury recently found that an SJ Transportation truck driver negligently caused an automobile collision three years ago, hitting the company with an $115,000 verdict.

Thomas Colwell filed suit against SJ Transportation and one of its truck drivers, George Ritterson Jr., on Jan. 2, 2008, in Jefferson County District Court.

Court records show that on Jan. 17, 2007, Ritterson was operating a SJ Transportation tractor-trailer when he "attempted to change lanes without yielding the right of way," striking the vehicle Colwell was traveling in.

In his suit, Colwell alleged Ritterson caused the collision by negligently failing to keep a proper lookout and that SJ Transportation was negligent for entrusting one of its vehicles to him "when it should have known of his reckless driving habits."

According to the charge of the jury, filed Feb. 17, jurors found that both defendants were negligent, awarding Colwell $35,000 for his mental anguish and $80,000 for his past and future medical expenses.

Jurors declined to award any damages to Colwell for his alleged lost earnings, disfigurement and impairment.

Beaumont attorney Brandon Monk represented Colwell.

The defendants were represented by attorney Gary Green

Judge Gary Sanderson, 6oth District Court, presided over the three-day trial.

Case No. B189-323

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