A retrial has started in case that originally ended with a $155,000 jury verdict against the city of Beaumont, but was overturned on the grounds that some evidence and testimony should never have been allowed to influence the jury.
As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, on June 21, 2010, a Jefferson County jury ruled Beaumont Police Officer Lance Carmouche negligently caused a head-on collision with teenage motorist Macy Brocato in March 2008.
Macy’s parents, Jay and Valerie Brocato, sued the city in 2009 alleging Officer Carmouche was weaving in and out of traffic at a high rate of speed without his audible and visual warning systems when he struck Macy head on.
The jury, tasked to decide who was more negligent in causing the collision, found in favor of the Brocatos, assigning 80 percent of the blame to Carmouche.
Court records show that the city’s motion for a new trial was denied by the trial court, forcing it to file its appeal in October 2010.
One year later, the Texas Ninth District Court of Appeals issued a memorandum opinion on Oct. 6, 2011, reversing the trial court’s judgment and remanding the case for a new trial.
Now, on Monday, Jan. 7 jury selection began for the retrial of the case.
According to court records and testimony, the incident occurred on May 23, 2008. Macy Brocato was traveling southbound on Major Drive and was in the process of making a left-hand turn onto Westfield Lane when she collided with Carmouche, who was on his way to assist a fellow officer.
During the first trial, Carmouche testified that he spotted Macy Brocato’s vehicle, but did not slow down because he expected her to see his headlights.
The Brocato family is represented by Tommy Yeates, an attorney for the Beaumont law firm Moore Landrey.
The city is represented by Senior Assistant City Attorney Quentin Price.
Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, is presiding over the litigation.