SE Texas Record

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Jurors find operator, not tractor seller, negligent in wrongful death suit

By David Yates | May 20, 2013

A Jefferson County jury recently found no negligence on the part of the defendant in a suit alleging a woman lost her husband after a tractor flipped on top of him -- placing all the blame on the operator instead.

As previously reported, Thelma Baxter filed a lawsuit June 24, 2011, in Jefferson County District Court against Bad Boy Inc. and Louis’ Yazoo Sales and Services.

Thelma Baxter alleges her deceased husband, Everitt Baxter, was driving a Kawasaki Lightning Z Series lawn tractor on June 26, 2009, when the tractor rolled over and pinned Everitt Baxter underneath it.

The case went to trial May 6 and ended nine days later.

According to the charge to the jury, there was no design defect in the lawn tractor at the time it left possession of Bad Boy that was the producing cause of Everitt Baxter’s death.

Instead, jurors found that Everitt Baxter’s negligence caused the occurrence in question.

According to the lawsuit, “Everitt Baxter was pinned under the lawn tractor until the EMS arrived on the scene and was pulled out from under the front of the lawn tractor. The tractor in question lacked any protection for rollover events.”

Court records show that on April 23, 2012, a motion for admission pro hac vice was filed, asking that attorney Robert Ingraham of Aurora, Colo., be admitted as counsel for plaintiff. Pro hac vice is a legal term referring to a lawyer who has not been admitted to practice in a certain jurisdiction.

Two days later, Judge Donald Floyd, 172nd District Court, granted the motion.

Clint Brasher of Beaumont is also representing Baxter.

Thelma Baxter was asking jurors to award her damages for her loss of companionship and services and suffered mental anguish.

Case No. E190-407

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