Ferguson partner Jane Leger wins ground-breaking $4M 18-wheeler settlement

By David Yates | Oct 22, 2018

BEAUMONT - Perseverance and creativity keyed a settlement totaling $4 million recently won by The Ferguson Law Firm Partner Jane S. Leger, says the firm. 

Leger announced the final piece of the victory, a $2,000,000 recovery against a transportation broker, expanding the liability of those involved in the commercial motor vehicle chain of commerce. 

“The broker is a match maker of sorts who matches the 18-wheeler with the shipper,” Leger said.  “We determined and proved that the broker has a duty to the motoring public to select a carrier that is safe and reliable.  The carrier here was not safe and the broker cannot turn a blind eye to that.” 

No reported Texas case had ever successfully upheld such a theory prior to Leger’s recovery for her client, says the firm.


Leger  

Leger represented the family of a 54-year old man who was killed when his vehicle struck the rear of a slowly moving 18-wheeler. 

Leger said many law firms balked at the case because the decedent had impacted the rig from the rear. 

“The family never believed the investigators’ conclusion that the crash was his fault,” she added. “He had an impeccable driving and safety record. We knew there was more to the story.” 

The perseverance and determination paid off: The Ferguson Law Firm uncovered the existence of GPS data that allowed them to recreate the path of the 18-wheeler and learn the truth.  

“The trucking company’s driver unexpectedly pulled in front of him on a highway at a slow rate of speed,” Leger said. “The GPS data told the tale and we were able to discover the 18-wheeler’s movements up to this tragic crash.  

“It is gratifying to be able to tell a family who has been torn apart by tragedy that the truth has been uncovered and their loved one did nothing wrong.” 

The initial claim against the trucking company resulted in the initial $2,000,000 settlement.

The case against the broker continued and broke new ground. 

“We had made a really good recovery against the trucking company, but we could not ignore the ‘do nothing’ safety attitude of the broker,” Leger said. 

The broker had represented it would select a safe and reliable trucking company to deliver machine parts manufactured in Texas to a facility in Georgia. Instead, the broker hired a trucking company that had not been in operation very long, employed an inexperienced driver and had a track record of serious safety violations, the firm says. 

“The broker tried to pivot and claim it was nothing more than a travel agent,” Leger said. “That analogy was, quite honestly, ludicrous and made a mockery of the broker’s safety responsibilities.”

Leger’s work paid off. As the case approached its trial date, the additional $2,000,000 settlement was reached.

 “It is one thing to tell your clients that they prevailed,” Leger said. “That is our first responsibility as their attorneys. It is a more satisfying thing to tell the family that, from their tragedy, the roads will be a safer place. That is something they, and I, can always carry forward. For me, it is equally important for corporate wrongdoers to know when they put public safety at risk by failing to consider safety in hiring decisions, the Ferguson Firm will see to it they are held accountable.”

The $4,000,000 was divided between the family of Leger’s client and another family who also lost family member. The majority of those funds were awarded to Leger’s clients, the firm says.

This result follows Ms. Leger’s recognition for having Texas’ top verdict in 2017 for workplace negligence – an $18,000,000 verdict obtained in Lufkin federal court. It also continued The Ferguson Law Firm’s continued success for their clients injured at the hands of 18-wheelers and other commercial vehicles. 

The settlement marks the fourth such million-dollar-plus result for the firm over the past six weeks.

The Ferguson Law Firm, located in Beaumont, Texas, continues to represent those who have been injured or wronged by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. It continues its long-standing track record of providing outstanding results one client at a time, the firm says.

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