Lawsuit filed after big rigs collide

By Michelle Massey, East Texas Bureau | Jun 16, 2010

MARSHALL-Two California residents are suing after their tractor-trailer rig was struck from behind by another tractor-trailer rig, causing them serious injuries.

Richard Carl Whitcomb and Kevin Joseph Martin filed suit against R & L Carriers, R & L Carriers Shared Services, R & L Transfer and Greenwood Motor Lines, doing business as R & L Carriers, on June 14 in Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division.

While Martin was asleep in the sleeper cab, Whitcomb was driving the tractor-trailer rig westbound on Interstate Highway 30 in Morris County when his truck was struck from behind by another tractor-trailer rig operated by Raymond Beck Jr. At the time of the accident, Sept. 29, 2009, Beck was an employee of R & L Carrier.

The plaintiffs are holding the employer responsible under the doctrine of respondeat superior.

Beck is accused of failing to control his speed, failing to maintain a safe distance, failing to timely apply his brakes to avoid the collision, failing to maintain a proper lookout, failing to take the necessary actions to evade or prevent the collision and failure to yield the right of way.

The defendants are accused of negligence for hiring Beck when they knew or should have known he was an incompetent driver, failing to properly train Beck, and for entrusting Beck with a tractor-trailer.

Whitcomb and Martin are seeking damages for physical pain and mental anguish, diminished mental capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, lost earnings, diminished earning capacity, disfigurement, physical impairment, medical expenses, loss of consortium, loss of household services, interest, court costs and attorney fees.

The plaintiffs are represented by Geoffrey Culbertson and Nicholas Patton of Patton, Tidwell & Schroeder in Texarkana.

U.S. District Judge T. John Ward is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:10cv00199

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