Posted on Dec 03, 2006
Jury awards $36 million to woman in Lufkin Industries lawsuit
By JESSICA SAVAGE
Monday, November 20, 2006
A Carthage jury awarded a California woman $36 million in a civil suit she filed against Lufkin Industries seeking damages from a 2003 motor vehicle collision with an 18-wheel tractor trailer built by the company.
Kelleigh Falcon, a 25-year-old resident of Chino Hills, Calif., was severely injured in October 2003 when the Ford Taurus she was riding in struck the side of an 18-wheeler, sending it underneath the trailer that pulled out in front the vehicle she was in, according to a press release from the law office of attorney Paul "Chip" Ferguson, of Beaumont.
Lufkin Industries declined to comment late Monday, saying it is planning to issue a statement today.
Falcon suffered severe head injuries from the accident, which later resulted in brain damage. The driver of the car, Virginia Walker, died five days later. Falcon's two children riding in the back of the car had minor injuries.
U.S. governmental regulations require some type of underride protection that prevents smaller vehicles from going underneath tractor trailers. Lufkin Industries, according to court testimony referenced in the release, never equipped its vehicles with underride protection. Since the government has not mandated the regulation, the company does not equip its vehicles with the protection.
"The Panola County jury found the Lufkin Industries-manufactured trailer was defectively designed and that the U.S. governmental regulations were inadequate to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury or damage," the release said.
The jury awarded an additional $2.5 million to the family of Walker.