Justices enforce settlement agreement between Beaumont, injured motorist

David Yates Apr. 30, 2012, 10:15am

In March 2010, a Jefferson County jury awarded Beaumont resident Clifford Teaslely $155,000 for injuries he suffered when a local police officer ran a stop sign and sideswiped his vehicle.

Two years later, on April 26 the Ninth Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion enforcing a settlement agreement reached between the parties following the verdict, which calls for the trial court's judgment to be vacated and a take-nothing judgment entered in its place.

The trial against the city of Beaumont began March 1, 2010, in Judge Bob Wortham's 58th District Court and ended four days later.

Court records show that on April 5, 2010, a final judgment was entered and the jury verdict became official. Judge Wortham previously told the Record he added around $13,000 in interest and $1,800 in court costs to the $155,000 jury award.

On April 23, 2010, the city filed its appeal, requesting that justices enforce a settlement agreement.

"The City of Beaumont filed a motion to vacate the trial court's judgment and render a take-nothing judgment in accordance with the written settlement agreement of the parties," writes Justice Hollis Horton.

"The appellant has produced a written settlement agreement that includes a statement that 'Clifford Teasley agrees that a take-nothing final judgment or dismissal with prejudice at the election of the City of Beaumont, Texas, may be entered in said suit.'

The appellee, Clifford Teasley, has not shown grounds for refusing to enforce the settlement agreement. Accordingly, the City's motion is granted. We reverse the trial court's judgment without reference to the merits and render a take-nothing judgment. Costs are assessed against the incurring party."

Teasley filed suit against the city two years after the 2006 car wreck, alleging the police officer who struck him failed to regard traffic regulations.

Court documents show that on Nov. 4, 2006, Teasley was traveling west on South Street when Officer Cody Foote sped through a stop sign, causing Teasley to come into contact with the broadside of the police vehicle.

Jurors awarded Teasley $105,000 in medical expenses, $20,500 in lost wages, $22,000 in mental anguish and $7,500 in impairment.

The settlement agreement was not on file, court records show.

Teasley is represented by Beaumont attorney David Starnes.

Beaumont is represented by City Attorney Quentin Price.

Trial case No. A182-498
Appeals case No. 09-10-00193-CV

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