Parents Win $2 Million for Son’s Highway Death
The parents of a 22-year-old won a $2 million verdict for his death on a Michigan highway when his car hit a John Deere logging vehicle from behind.
Christopher J. Grouix was on his way to work as a carpentry apprentice in the early morning hours of Sept. 12, 2011, when he hit the logging truck. He died at the scene.
His parents, Tom and Kathryn, sued the owner of the truck, Shawn Muma Logging, and its employee who was driving it, Danny F. Bard Jr.
After the accident, Bard had pleaded guilty to a moving violation causing death and served six months in jail.
In the lawsuit brought by the victim’s parents, their attorney, Robert M. Giroux, argued that Christopher was not able to see the logging truck when he hit it from behind.
Police reports showed that the truck did not have the required lights.
The truck owner and driver’s attorney, Peter L. Diesel, argued that Christopher was at fault for the accident because he was not attentive, either because he was sleepy or using a cell phone. To support that argument, he showed evidence that the night before the accident, Christopher had gone to a concert and got home around 1 a.m. and that police recovered a cell phone near the accident.
But the victim’s father disputed that account, saying his son had his cell phone in his pocket at the time of the crash.
The jury awarded the parents $1.5 million for the loss of their son, $500,000 for pain and suffering and other economic damages like funeral costs and loss of their son’s financial support.