After more than three years of litigation, a plaintiff in an automobile collision case left the Jefferson County courthouse empty handed last week, following a "no negligence" jury verdict.

Kenneth Whitney filed suit against Michael Blackburn in July 2006, claiming Blackburn negligently rear ended him while he was stopped in heavy traffic.

Several years later, a jury trial was held in Judge Donald Floyd's 172nd District Court, where jurors found no negligence on the part of Blackburn or Whitney, according to the charge of the court, filed Sept. 22.

Court papers show that on Aug. 7, 2005, Whitney was traveling westbound on Interstate 10 in heavy traffic. Whitney, along with several other motorists, was forced to slow down and stop.

"Upon stopping, plaintiff was hit from behind by the vehicle being driven by defendant," the suit states. "The force of the impact shoved plaintiff's vehicle into the vehicle (in front of him)."

The suit goes on to fault Blackburn for failing to be vigilant behind the wheel and drive in a prudent manner.

In his answer to Whitney's suit, Blackburn denied every allegation and asserted the incident was "caused by a sudden and unexpected emergency."

Whitney was asking jurors to award him money for his past and future physical pain, mental anguish and medical expenses, plus property damages.

He was represented by attorney E. Hart Green of the Weller, Green, Toups & Terrell law firm.

Blackburn was represented in part by attorney Richard Hatfield.

Case No. E177-349

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